LUGANSK, August 6 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The new Head of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, Matilda Bogner, visited the bridge across the Severskiy Donets river in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area, Lugansk People’s Republic representative in the humanitarian subgroup, head of the Republic’s working group on prisoner exchange Olga Kobtseva told reporters.
Bogner took office in July 2019 replacing Fiona Frazer.
Accompanied by head of the so-called Lugansk Region Civil Military Administration Vitaly Komarnitsky, she walked to the Kiev-controlled part of the region and inspected the ruined span.
“As we know, head of the UN Human Rights Mission Fiona Frazer was replaced; today, the new Head, Matilda Bogner, is on her first visit to the Lugansk People’s Republic,” Kobtseva said. “She passed through the Stanitsa Luganskaya crossing point to see everything with her own eyes. Later on, we’ll meet in camera to discuss human rights issues.”
LPR People’s Militia press service officer Ivan Filiponenko earlier said that Ukraine had no intention to repair the bridge span ruined by Kiev forces.
Earlier on Tuesday, LPR Emergencies Ministry said that its specialists had rendered harmless another 13 explosive hazards in the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge area.
The Ministry launched the Stanitsa bridge area mine check on August 1.
LPR Foreign Minister, the Republic’s envoy to the Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego said that the Republic and Ukraine had reached an accord not to stop the operation of the Stanitsa Luganskaya crossing point for the period of bridge repairs.
Kobtseva said that Kiev, in the course of the humanitarian subgroup meeting in Minsk, agreed to coordinate with the LPR all the moves towards restoring the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge across the Severskiy Donets river.
Deinego said that the Office of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky agreed that unilateral bridge repairs on Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge were inadmissible.
LPR Head Leonid Pasechnik said that the Republic would view any unilateral actions by Kiev on the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge as an act of aggression.
The LPR Foreign Ministry reminded “Mr Zelensky that the bridge across the Severskiy Donets in Stanitsa Luganskaya was on the contact line approved by the Minsk Memorandum dated September 19, 2014, so any unilateral actions by Ukraine regarding bridge repairs or operation can be viewed as gross violation of the Minsk Agreements.” The LPR authorities also said that they could “repair both the LPR and Ukrainian parts of the bridge.”
Deinego said that Kiev’s statement about the readiness to restore the Stanitsa Luganskaya bridged ruined by Kiev forces were “unrealistic” and were an attempt to promote itself, so the Republic was ready to repair the structure using the project offered by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
LPR Head Leonid Pasechnik ordered LPR authorities to address the issue of Stanitsa Luganskaya bridge repairs based on the ICRC project.
Currently there is only one official checkpoint at the line of contact in LPR area of responsibility in Donbass and it is accessible via the bridge in vicinity of Stanitsa Luganskaya. Only pedestrian traffic here is possible thanks to temporary conduit, as the bridge was blown up by Ukrainian forces in early 2015. LPR has been continuously proposing to rebuild it.
Kiev has disrupted the finalising the ICRC bridge restoration project from the very beginning of the discussion demanding that its width be limited in order to prevent the passage of armoured vehicles. The LPR repeatedly pointed out that the Ukrainian demands were ridiculous as the parameters proposed by the Republic (three metres in width and a load capacity of five tons) made military hardware traffic impossible, yet they met the minimum requirements to the passage of ambulances. Ambulance service is needed to a large incidence of people collapsing in queues and regular fatalities.
In September 2016, representatives of Ukraine, the LPR, the DPR, Russia the OSCE initialled a framework agreement on partial pullback of forces in Donbass. The document provides for three disengagement areas around Zolotoye, Stanitsa Luganskaya and Petrovskoe (DPR territory). The disengagement has been completed in all the three areas by now; in Stanitsa Luganskaya, Kiev failed to pull back its forces in Stanitsa Luganskaya more than 80 times.
The Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements was adopted by the Contact Group on Ukraine on 12 February 2015 and supported by member states of the Normandy Four (Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France). The UN Security Council approved the document by its 2202 Resolution and called upon all the sides to ensure full implementation of the Package of Measures.
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.