The agreement on opening new checkpoints was reached in March 2020. Kiev has been blocking the implementation of this important humanitarian decision ever since.
Ukrainian representatives are blocking the simultaneous opening of the crossing points in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas, press secretary of the Lugansk People’s Republic delegation in the Contact group Maria Kovshar said after the humanitarian subgroup’s session.
“The simultaneous opening of the two new crossing points, Lugansk-Schastye and Pervomaisk-Zolotoye, remains blocked by Ukraine,” Kovshar said.
The Ukrainian representatives “continue to refuse to provide full-fledged security guarantees and written confirmation of the new checkpoints operation parameters.”
The parties also failed to make any headway in the POW exchange issue, she said.
“As before, Ukraine tried to avoid the fulfilment of its obligations regarding the dropping of criminal prosecution. Furthermore, the Ukrainian representative in the subgroup presented controversial information on this issue,” Kovshar said.
The press secretary called such behaviour and statements “a new Ukrainian trick and attempt to dodge their commitments.”
LPR representatives repeatedly said that Kiev lied about confirming the security guarantees for opening the new checkpoints. Ukraine deliberately refuses to provide round-the-clock security guarantees in the area of the Pervomaisk-Zolotoye checkpoint and sabotages the opening of the new crossing points in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas. LPR representative to the Minsk talks, the Republic’s Foreign Minister Vladislav Deinego said that Ukraine cannot provide answers to the questions regarding the opening of the new checkpoints, so the decision on simultaneous opening of “Lugansk-Schastye” and “Pervomaisk-Zolotoye” would be postponed until Ukraine had provided written confirmation of the earlier accords.
In March 2020, the LPR and Kiev agreed to set up two new crossing points on the contact line in the Schastye and Zolotoye areas; the works on the facilities were launched in July. Having failed to coordinate the key points of the crossing points’ operation, including security issues, Ukraine unilaterally opened them on November 10. The Republic called the move a provocation and a threat to the persons who cross the contact line and demanded that Kiev begin a dialogue to resolve the problems and launch full-fledged operation of the crossing points. Currently there is only one official checkpoint on contact line in the LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge across the Seversky Donets in the vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya.
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 Belarusian 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*t