Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Donetsk People's Republic

IN THE CONTACT GROUP WE SPEAK IN RUSSIAN, BUT FOR KIEV, THIS IS A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE - NATALIA NIKONOROVA

09 December 2021
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On the eve of the new negotiating round, on December 2, we sent to the OSCE Coordinator Mr. Kinnunen for further elaboration in seven members of the Contact Group a draft "Statement on Mechanisms to Ensure the Unconditional Implementation of the Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire Regime fire of July 22, 2020" for further work among all Contact Group participants.

In the text of this draft, we proposed practical steps that should be taken by us and Kiev to effectively comply with the Measures. It was planned to return Ukraine to the coordinating mechanism for interaction between representatives of the DPR, LPR and Ukraine in the JCCC, which was agreed on July 22, 2020, in order to promptly suppress violations of the ceasefire and prevent skirmishes. In addition, Ukraine was offered to officially disavow the statements of of the Armed Forces commander Valery Zaluzhny and the commander of the so-called "operation of the combined forces" Aleksandr Pavlyuk about the admissibility of making a decision to open fire by the commanders of Ukrainian armed formations on the ground without coordination with the higher command, as well as the use of combat UAVs by these formations. These statements are de facto for each soldier a guide to action and a "mandate" to violate the armistice agreements.

In addition, it was assumed that the decisions on these issues adopted at the Contact Group meeting should be published.

The current approach of the official Kiev is to talk about adherence to the agreements reached on the Minsk platform, and to broadcast directly opposite theses in the media space. It is absolutely unacceptable, since it critically aggravates the escalation on the contact line.

But in response from the Ukrainian delegation, we heard only conflicting theses, vague positions and attempts to avoid solving practical problems in every possible way. Ukraine continues to refuse the establishing direct interaction with Republics and insists that violations verification should be carried out by the OSCE SMM or some other mission representing the role of an “independent arbiter”.

Obviously, such a demand from Kiev is nothing more than an attempt to shift the responsibility "from a sore head to a healthy one." But the only possible way to really react to violations, and most importantly to suppress them. Ukraine literally frightens direct and operational interaction of the two parties at the places of violations. To our repeated question about whether Kiev is ready to record the interaction of Ukraine and Republics in the JCCC for the full-fledged operation of the coordination mechanism, the Ukrainian representatives were not ready to give a clear answer.

As a result, the eight-hour security negotiations were paused.

The delegation of Ukraine asked for additional time in order to respond to our initiative to prepare an updated draft statement version, taking into account our principled positions, namely: disavowing the statements of Zaluzhny and Pavlyuk, the recorded interaction of Ukraine and Republics in the JCCC and publication of the agreed text of the statement on official resources of the relevant departments of Ukraine and Republics.

We wait for the promised text from the Ukrainian side and are ready to study it immediately in order to understand the prospects for agreeing on a document that can lead to real progress and not to its imitation.

Otherwise, we will state that for Ukraine, PR and activities imitation are more important than real steps to achieve peace, on which the lives and health of millions of Donbass residents depend.