Ukrainian representatives in the Contact Group subgroup on security issues blocked the discussion of the coordination mechanism for verification and prevention of ceasefire violations at the meeting, press secretary of the Lugansk People’s Republic delegation in the Contact Group Maria Kovshar said.
“The development of the project to perfect and fully launch the coordination mechanism for verification and prevention of ceasefire violations remains a most important task for the subgroup,” Kovshar said.
“No progress has been made on any point during the discussion of this issue, which lasted for about three hours. Instead of substantive work, Ukraine tried to stall any headway, diverting the dialogue and thinking up extra conditions, thus avoiding direct interaction with the Donbass Republics within the framework of the (Joint Centre for Control and Coordination) JCCC, contrary to Item “d” of the Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire. As a result, the time ran out and the coordination mechanism remained blocked by Ukraine,” she said.
The press secretary underlined that “Ukraine’s destructive position at the talks does not allow to make progress in a peaceful settlement of the conflict which enables Ukrainian armed formations to continue to fire at Donbass civilians.”
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.
The Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire, agreed by the Contact Group members and effective since 00:01 July 27, 2020, ban offensive and commando operations, use of unmanned aerial vehicles and deployment of heavy armaments in or in proximity to residential areas etc. They envision punishment for violators and the use of the coordination mechanism to respond to ceasefire violations. Return fire is allowed in case of offensive, if the order is given by the leadership of Ukrainian forces or DPR and LPR People’s Militias after the unsuccessful attempt to use the coordination mechanism. The Contact Group shall be notified about such orders. *i*b