The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic operates on the basis of the DPR Constitution, Regulation on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic, approved by the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People's Republic of May 31, 2016 №7-20, guided by the laws, regulations of the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People's Republic and also international agreements of the Donetsk People's Republic.
The main tasks of the Ministry are an effective implementation of foreign policy course of the Donetsk People's Republic aimed at establishing lasting peace in the territory of the Republic, participation in the negotiation process within the Minsk agreements framework, contribution to the establishment of the Republic as an active participant in international relations, establishment and development of international relations, countering biased information and disseminating reliable information about the real situation in Donbass among the world community.
1. Minsk process
A priority task for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2017 year remains the negotiation process in the working group on political issues. This activity is aimed at resolving an armed conflict in Donbass, establishing a sustainable peace through negotiations and diplomacy, protecting the rights and interests of citizens residing in the territory of our Republic.
In the course of Minsk process, the Donetsk People's Republic has already established itself as a reliable partner in the negotiations for implementation its obligations.
Minsk process for today is the largest negotiating platform, on which the mediators and we make every effort to ensure the Ukrainian party fulfill its obligations. We always support the strict implementation of all signed documents within the framework of Minsk negotiating process (Protocol of the Tripartite Contact Group of 05.09.2014, Memorandum of 19.09.2014, Package of Measures on the implementation of Minsk agreements of 15.02.2015) and do everything necessary for a peaceful resolving conflict in accordance with the norms of international law.
It is worth noting that during 2017, 25 sitting of the working group on political issues for resolving the conflict in Donbass took place. In order to ensure the activities of this group, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic has adopted six documents on key issues discussed during the sittings.
Throughout the year, Ministry’s workers carried out analytical, political and legal support for the negotiation process for its political part. At the same time, it should be noted that political items represent a complex set of interrelated issues. Discussion basis is a definition of legal provisions for the establishment of contractual terms for further interaction with Ukraine, i.e. establishment of sustainable peace through diplomatic negotiations.
2. International relations
As for the international relations of the Donetsk People's Republic, in addition to establishing new international relations, the important task of the Ministry was to strengthen and develop the already established ones.
In 2017, a significant event occurred between the Donetsk People's Republic and its partner state - the Republic of South Ossetia, which contributed to the development of our friendly relations.
On May 11, Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko and President of the Republic of South Ossetia Anatoly Ilyich Bibilov have signed the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, and I, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic, along with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia Murat Kuzmich Dzhioev had the honor to sign the Protocol on the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Donetsk People's Republic and the Republic of South Ossetia.
It should be noted that today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia are actively working on the issue of embassy exchange, including the experience of many CIS countries and European countries on the mechanism for exchanging embassies and elaborating details of the diplomatic representation opening abroad. In order to regulate this issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic drafted the Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic "On Approval of the Regulations on the Embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic and Regulations on the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Donetsk People's Republic in a Foreign State".
We also cooperate with the Lugansk People's Republic. The establishment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the fraternal Republic helped strengthen the foreign policy dialogue between our states.
An effective dialogue is being established with the Republic of Abkhazia, which is aimed at establishing mutually beneficial partnership relations.
Work is also in progress on cooperation with the subjects of the Russian Federation in the social, cultural, economic, educational and humanitarian spheres.
3. Public Diplomacy
It is worthwhile to emphasize that the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is actively engaged into the public diplomacy development, including the opening of representative centers of our Republic abroad. In addition to the opened representative centers of the Donetsk People's Republic in European countries, namely in the Czech and Italian Republics, on March 21, 2017, the Representative Center of the Donetsk People's Republic was solemnly opened in the city of Athens, the Greek Republic, and on September 25, the Representative Center of the Donetsk People's Republic was opened in the city of Marseille, French Republic.
On December 9, 2017 the official opening of the Representative Center of the Donetsk People's Republic in Helsinki, the Republic of Finland, took place.
Our representative centers actively work in the framework of public diplomacy, contributing to the establishment of information, cultural, economic ties and, in general, for a positive reputation of the Donetsk People's Republic in European countries. The citizens of the Donetsk People’s Republic can appeal to the representative centers, citizens of the Donetsk People's Republic and get necessary legal and consulting assistance. In 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly answered citizens' appeals sent to the representative centers of the Donetsk People's Republic.
Information and humanitarian actions, cultural and educational events are systematically carried out under the auspices of the representative centers. For example, during the period of February-April 2017, at the initiative of the Representative Centers of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the Greek, Italian, Finnish, French, Czech Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, a large-scale information and humanitarian action "101life" was held, aimed to draw public attention to the death of innocent children in Donbass, as a result of which 6,500 people signed a petition addressed to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Media coverage of the audience in Europe based on the results of this action was more than 150 thousand people.
Our interests were supported by the French public organization "Ouest-Est" under the leadership of Nicola Mirkovich, sending an official complaint about the war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass, together with the evidence base to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic took part in the organization of the "Angels in Heart" campaign, held on June 1, 2017, also abroad. The action was supported and held in the Republic of South Ossetia, Greek Republic, Republic of Serbia, Federal Republic of Germany and French Republic.
It should be noted that in December 2017 an international teleconference is planned between students of our Republic and students of the Greek and Italian Republics on the topic "Youth diplomacy as an instrument for resolving an armed conflict".
At the end of December 2017, the exchange of New Year's cards is planned between schoolchildren of the Donetsk People's Republic and schoolchildren of Greece, Italy, Germany, Finland and France.
In addition to their main activities, the representative centers facilitate regular visits of foreign delegations to the Donetsk People's Republic with the aim of investing and finding ways of mutually beneficial cooperation, which demonstrates the Republic's high prospects and its attractiveness to foreign investors as an economic partner.
On May 11, 2017, the Donetsk People's Republic celebrated its third anniversary. Delegations and individual guests from the Republic of South Ossetia, Republic of Abkhazia, Lugansk People's Republic, Russian Federation, the Greek, Italian, Czech, Finland, French Republics, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Republic of Serbia took part in the festive events. The participation of foreign delegations in these events has become a significant assistance for further strengthening foreign policy ties of the Donetsk People's Republic and expanding its cooperation with other states in the economic, cultural, social and other spheres.
In total, for the year 2017, 48 delegations from various countries of the near and far abroad have visited the Republic under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, we note that the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on an ongoing basis provides protocol support for the visit of foreign guests and their escort.
Thanks to the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic, visits of tourist, journalistic groups, public figures, politicians and businesspersons from abroad have increased. It shows that the interaction area of the Donetsk People's Republic with European countries and their citizens is steadily growing and every year the Republic's reputation on the international scene is getting stronger.
4. Regulatory activity
One of the key activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is regulatory activity. The Ministry actively participates in the development of legal acts regulating foreign policy activities and international relations of the Republic.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People's Council Committee on Foreign Policy, International Relations, Information Policy and Information Technologies, are actively preparing a bill on the diplomatic service that will improve the effectiveness of the foreign policy of the Donetsk People's Republic by legislating the specifics of the state diplomatic service.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic took part in drafting proposals on introducing amendments to the Temporary Provision "On the passport of a citizen of the Donetsk People's Republic".
It should be noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has developed and coordinated together with all interested republican executive authorities and sent to the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People's Republic "Temporary order of documents’ legalization issued by the competent authorities of foreign states for action in the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic, and competent bodies of the Donetsk People's Republic, for their action outside the Donetsk People's Republic." This document will substantially complement the legislation of the Republic and will consolidate the rules for the acceptance of foreign documents.
Active work is also being done to develop local regulatory acts of the Ministry, among which is the order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic of December 12, 2016, No. 118, which approves the Rules for State Registration and Governmental Accounting of International Treaties of the Donetsk People's Republic. According to this document, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains the Journal of Bilateral International Treaties Registration, in which four interagency memoranda of cooperation and one interagency cooperation agreement have been registered to date. Attention is also drawn to the order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "On the ratification, exchange and surrender of instruments of ratification of the international treaties of the Donetsk People's Republic to the depositary", that establishes the sequence of actions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by making a ratification instrument.
During the year, work continued on improving the Foreign Policy Concept of the Donetsk People's Republic. This document is a system of views on the content, principles and main directions of the Republic’s foreign policy, it also has a strategic nature and aimed at long-term perspective, that is why its elaboration was carried out taking into account the actual geopolitical situation of the world with an orientation to contemporary reality’s challenges.
5. Humanitarian program
I would like to draw your attention to the success of Humanitarian program for the reunification of the Donbass people, announced by the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic on February 17, 2017. It has been realized for over 10 months, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had a coordinating role in its implementation. During this time, really significant results were achieved: our compatriots, who live in the territory of the Donetsk region under Ukraine’s control, come to the Donetsk People's Republic to get free medical assistance, social payments, to enter our educational institutions, participate in cultural and sports events, contests and competitions.
We can confidently say that the Humanitarian program has a great interest among the people: as for today, more than 32,000 appeals from Donbass residents have been received to “hot lines” and site of the program.
For 10 months of the Humanitarian program, almost 14.500 of people living in the territory of the Donetsk region, temporarily under Ukraine’s control, got services within the framework of the Humanitarian program. It is the payments to veterans of the Great Patriotic War (115 payments) and workers of the coal industry (347 payments) for a total of 3 million 944 thousand rubles, payments to citizens who are really in a difficult life situation (1,227 payments for a total of 35 million 451 thousand rubles, rubles), medical assistance (511 patients), educational services for residents of the Donetsk region temporarily under Ukraine’s control in educational institutions of the Donetsk People's Republic (694 people).
There are also 4 centers of social assistance and administrative services at checkpoints on the contact line in which, as of 07.12, about 500 services were provided, namely reception and delivery of postal orders, payments, sale of newspapers of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics Donetsk Narodnaya, legal assistance, social assistance payments to the residents of the Donetsk region temporarily under Ukraine’s control.
In addition, joint cultural, sports, educational events are held within the framework of the Humanitarian program. So, in the sphere of culture for 10 months 252 events and 11 permanent actions for free visiting of cultural heritage objects have taken place, in which about 7,500 people participated from the Donetsk region temporarily under Ukraine’s control.
About 3,500 people from the Donetsk region temporarily under Ukraine’s control took part in sports events (164 events as of 07.12.2017).
Also, the joint events held within the framework of the Humanitarin Program are aimed at preserving and strengthening professional ties. Today, there are concerts and competitions with the participation of workers in engineering, railway transport, pedagogical and trade union activities, living both in the Donetsk People's Republic and Donetsk region temporarily under Ukraine’s control.
The measures were taken to ensure the environmental safety of Donbass. A joint inspection was approved to monitor environmental safety. It examines the projected consequences for possible accidents and emergency situations at the Avdeevka Coke Plant, Dzerzhinsk Phenolic Plant, Konstantinovsky State Chemical Plant, Starokrymsky Filtering Station, Veliko-Anadolsky Filter Station and other potentially hazardous to the environment of Donbass objects. So, to date, there were 31 sittings of the Joint Inspection, which examined more than 200 objects that have a negative impact on the environment and population of Donbass. All materials considered at these sittings are discussed in Minsk negotiating.
6. Special Committee on recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass
According to the Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic №78 (from May 30, 2016), a Special Committee was created on recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass.
The main task of the Special Committee is to identify and document the facts, circumstances of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes of Ukraine in the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic, and the damage caused by these crimes.
Throughout year 2017, the Committee had 13 sittings. During the whole year was conducted:
- constant work of comparison and actualization of all databases on the dead and wounded children in the territory of the Republic, including databases of the Republican Bureau of Forensic Medical Examination and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of the Donetsk People's Republic;
- functioning of the Special Committee “hotline”;
- informing of citizens about the Special Committee activities through the information leaflets.
In accordance with the approved procedure and nomenclature, the filling of a single register on recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities was carried out in four directions: crimes, whose victims were children; wounded and dead adult civilians; destruction of the housing facilities stock and illegally detained persons. At the end of this year, the above-mentioned offenses totaled 9,120 cases, of which:
- Civilians (dead) - 401;
- Civilians (wounded) - 769;
- Children (dead) - 60;
- Children (wounded) - 133;
- Prisoners and illegally held persons (civil and military prisoners) - 44;
- Destruction of housing and infrastructure – 7713.
All these facts will also be arguments at the Minsk negotiations in the work of at least two groups – on security and humanitarian issues. These are direct evidence of non-compliance with the ceasefire and undeniable facts of human rights violations in Ukraine: detention, torture and beating of our like-minded people and our military fighters by the fighters of Security Service of Ukraine and radical groups. The Special Committee makes every effort to gather as much as possible full and detailed evidentiary base of lawlessness of the Ukrainian authorities. Our goal is to restore justice and, with the help of international judicial and human rights organizations, to invoke the responsibility of Ukrainian military and civil servants of volunteer battalions, who are guilty of outrages and crimes against humanity in Donbass.
7. Work with applications of individuals and legal entities
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively works with residents of the Donetsk People's Republic and foreign citizens. There is a reception office, consultations via phone and e-mail. In year 2017, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic answered 476 written and 428 verbal appeals from individuals and legal entities. It should be noted that for the same period last year were answered 502 written appeals and 387 verbal appeals. In total, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for year 2017 answered 904 appeals, that is 2% more than in 2016, and 54% more than in 2015. The most of appeals concern issues of entry/exit, opportunities to obtain the passport of a citizen of the Donetsk People's Republic, the use of documents issued by the competent authorities of the Donetsk People's Republic in the Russian Federation. All appeals were considered within the framework of the current legislation and competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
To fulfill the main tasks, a number of measures are included to the work plan of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 2018, aimed at improvement of the Donetsk People's Republic reputation on the international scene (teleconferences, conferences, sittings). In addition, the establishment of the Embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic in the Republic of South Ossetia remains urgent, as well as further work on the preparation of legal acts concerning the sphere of international relations of our Republic.
I can say with certainty that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic will continue to fulfill all the tasks facing the Ministry, to protect and strengthen the reputation of the Donetsk People's Republic on the international scene and to demonstrate in every possible way the Republic’s readiness to become a full-fledged member of the international community and its commitment to civilization and diplomacy in policy.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the joint work this year and the wishes of successful cooperation with the People's Council deputy corps, in particular, with the People's Council Committee on Foreign Policy, international relations, information policy and information technologies in law-making activities in the future.