Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Donetsk People's Republic

UKRAINE BLOCKED THE FULL WORK OF THE CONTACT GROUP

26 March 2020
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We regret to note that the expectation of positive developments in the implementation of the Package of Measures that arose after the last meeting in Minsk was completely nullified by the Ukrainian side during today's videoconference of the Contact Group.

The representative replacing the Ukrainian delegation head refused to support the practice and to record in writing Ukraine’s obligations for specific actions in the form of protocol decisions and instructions of the Contact Group, referring to the fact that this was supposedly a one-time situation.

At the last meeting on March 11, a constructive mechanism for writing down the parties’ obligations was proposed, which involves agreeing and approving a protocol that includes an expanded agenda for the meeting, assignments of the Contact Group to working groups, as well as final decisions, in particular relevant documents. At the same time, Ukraine, in the person of the head of the president’s  office Mr. Yermak and the head of the Ukrainian delegation Mr. Kuchma, has secured its agreement with a signature in the protocol decision.

Unfortunately, the OSCE coordinator did not take an active position to support the accepted work form of the Contact Group, despite the fact that on the eve draft documents, proposed by intermediaries in the person of the Russian Federation and carefully worked out by the Republics have been sent to the OSCE. We also received a comment from the OSCE, and the only participant who did not provide any answers or any reaction was Ukraine.

As a result, the Contact Group participants, after hearing reports on the work of the relevant groups, were unable to make the planned decisions and record the results in the protocol of the Contact Group meeting with their signature. This situation has arisen due to the fact that the Ukrainian side reacted unfairly to the implementation of protocol instructions following the results of the last meeting, without having worked out even the main agenda issues.

In confirmation of their readiness to assume the fulfillment of all obligations, Republics’ representatives sign the draft protocol they have worked out, which the Ukrainian party refused to agree today. We will make it public so that civil society can see the amount of work that was planned for implementation at today's meeting and which demonstrates how many decisions we proposed to settle the situation by peaceful means. We emphasize that in order to obtain the status of mandatory implementation, the protocol decision must be agreed upon and signed by all Contact Group members.

More than 10 hours of negotiations were wasted because of the destructive position of Ukraine’s representatives, who can agree neither on decisions to support the ceasefire, nor lists for the mutual release of persons or mechanisms for implementing political issues.

In this regard, it is obvious that no verbal statements by the Contact Group without a written record of the work results and parties’ obligations, unfortunately, have practical meaning and are populist.