Stanitsa bridge reconstruction plan makes it available for ambulances - Deinego
LUGANSK, June 28 (Lugansk Media Centre) – LPR is satisfied with the fact that Ukrainian authorities have finally consented to repair the collapsed bridge in Stanitsa Luganskaya in accordance with the project providing for a 3-meter-wide bridge accessible for ambulances, said LPR Foreign Minister representing the Republic at Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego.
"Hopefully, a metal frame will be installed shortly over the collapsed part of the bridge," he said. "The projected width is three meters, load capacity is five tons. It shall make the passage easier for pedestrians and shall also make the bridge accessible for ambulances. That is what we have insisted on from the very beginning, as lives and health might depend on it."
"We have sought Kiev's consent for repairs for four years, and during the two of them the ICRC demanded that Kiev agrees to ICRC project. But Ukraine dismissed it under some pretexts," Deinego said.
"We are satisfied that Ukraine was compelled to compromise with us and obliged to repair the bridge. It is a kind of a small retribution for the damage inflicted upon the Republic."
Deinego also cited Ukrainian politician Leonid Kuchma who has been actively participating in the Minsk process from its very beginning as saying that the ICRC allocated 60 mln euros for the repair project.
Currently there is only one official checkpoint at the line of contact in the LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge across the Severskiy Donets river in the vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya north of Lugansk.
Back in 2015 amidst active military action in the region that followed the 2014 coup-d'etat in Kiev the bridge had been blown up by the Ukrainian armed forces. Soon, in early April LPR volunteers installed a wooden ramp over its collapsed part to make it possible for civilians to cross the river.
Soon after, Ukraine introduced a checkpoint system at the contact line and the only Ukraine-LPR crossing point has been established at the two sides of the bridge.
The LPR has been calling on Ukraine and humanitarian organizations to restore it ever since.
In September 2016 it was announced that the ICRC and the UN, and OSCE had expressed intention to finance the repairs, and by 2017 the ICRC has already developed a project for the reconstruction.
Still, only the repairs of a temporary wooden construction were completed in 2017.
In 2018, the ICRC reminded that having a safer bridge outside Stanitsa Luganskaya used by thousands people daily to cross the contact line is an urgent humanitarian need as dozens of civilians had died over several years queueing for hours at the bridge to get from one checkpoint to another.
In April 2019 the Coordinator of the Humanitarian working group from the OSCE Ambassador Toni Frisch said that the reconstruction of the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge was being obstructed by the disagreement of the sides on its width as the LPR wanted a 3-meter wide structure for ambulance passage while Ukraine refused to install a bridge wider than 2 meters. Ukraine explained its position by fears that a wider bridge would allow military equipment to cross the river and enter Stanitsa Luganskaya. The LPR dismissed such approach as absurd as 5-ton load capacity does not make the bridge available for military hardware.
LuganskMediaCentre — 29 June — Lugansk