The Minsk Contact Group security subgroup video conference on the parties’ recommitment to the disengagement of forces and hardware in zones No 2 and 3 (Zolotoye, LPR) and Petrovskoye (DPR) has made some headway in practical solution of this issue, yet it has not delivered the final results.
The parties confirmed the need for the soonest restoration of the disengagement participants’ status quo; however, their approaches to the process turned out to be opposite.
The LPR and the DPR assumed that it was necessary to achieve complete disengagement in deed, not in words. It required elimination of all violations in the disengagement zones (committed by Ukraine as the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has repeatedly recorded), dismantle the fortifications and finish mine clearance in the zones. The OSCE SMM had to verify the moment of completion of all these works. This would mark the actual completion of the disengagement.
These issues have to be settled once and for all, to prevent their recurrence in the future.
To this end, we proposed to coordinate and sign, at the upcoming Contact Group meeting in Minsk, a draft schedule addendum to the Framework Agreement detailing the length and dates of the works.
I should note that the draft addendum was presented at a previous meeting in Minsk.
The Ukrainian representatives tried to turn the discussion to the disengagement start date. As soon as we were ready to record concrete commitments, they would evade the discussion under various pretexts, for example by manipulating the issues of interpretation of “Normandy Four” recommendations.
As a meaningful and quick solution of this matter is important to us, the LPR and DPR representatives called for holding a new security subgroup videoconference on Friday, to have another chance, before the Contact Group meeting on September 18, to prepare for signing a package of documents aimed at the real fulfilment of the parties’ commitment to disengage forces and hardware. This idea received preliminary approval of the subgroup coordinator.
We hope that the OSCE SMM is interested as much as we are in the signing of the documents securing the real disengagement of forces and hardware which we have been seeking for two and half years.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lugansk People’s Republic
Authorised representative of the Lugansk People’s Republic to the Minsk talks