The work of the Contact Group subgroup on economic issues makes no sense as long as Kiev does not honor the security accords, press secretary of the Lugansk People’s Republic delegation in the Contact Group Maria Kovshar said after the subgroup’s video conference on Tuesday.
“As for the Road Map to restore socio-economic interaction, Ukraine keeps insisting on “the fulfillment of the seven preceding articles of the Package of Measures,” while ignoring the fact that all the articles are logically connected and their sequence is fixed in the text by the order of priority and correlation wherever necessary,” she said.
“If we reason in this way, the subgroup’s work loses its significance in principle, because Ukraine is not fulfilling the key security condition as it continues to deliver strikes at the Republics in violation of the first article of the Package of Measures,” Kovshar said.
She said that at the Tuesday session, Ukraine, as before, showed an interest in the payments for the water supplied to the LPR territory and coordinated the date of the next payment.
“At the same time, Kiev showed complete reluctance to discuss the payment of pensions, although priority is given to mobility impaired people who cannot cross the contact line to complete the pension procedures established by Ukraine. Instead of real proposals, Ukraine continues to consider the “risks” associated with making decisions on this issue, which have been obvious and have been known since the beginning of the conflict. They have been discussed at the Minsk venue for several years. Every new Ukrainian representative whom Ukraine changes systemically, starts “this song.” Meanwhile, 650,000 pensioners, including 120,000 mobility impaired ones, have no opportunity to draw their retirement benefits which they legally earned in Ukraine,” the LPR representative said.
The subgroup did not discuss “Ukraine’s paying wage debts to the laid-off raiilwaymen and Vodafone’s electricity bill. Kiev does not want to talk about its debts or meet these liabilities,” she said.
However, in environmental issues, the subgroup practically agreed the composition of the expert group on environmental monitoring of the flooding of mines next to the contact line and started the discussion of the parties’ proposals to organize the work of the expert group.”
The Ukrainian government launched the so-called anti-terrorist operation against Donbass in April 2014. Conflict settlement relies on the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements, signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarussian capital by the Contact Group members and coordinated by the Normandy Four heads of states (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine). The UN Security Council approved the document by Resolution No 2202 of February 17, 2015 and called upon the parties to ensure its implementation.
The document provides for comprehensive ceasefire, withdrawal of all heavy weapons from the contact line, starting a dialog on reconstruction of social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbass. It also envisages carrying out constitutional reform in Ukraine providing for decentralization and adopting permanent legislation on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
To facilitate the work of the Contact Group, four working groups were set up under its aegis to deal with issues of security, politics, return of internally displaced people and refuges, as well as with social, humanitarian, economic and rehabilitation issues. *i*s