The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic carries out its activities on the basis of the Constitution of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Regulation on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic, approved by Decree of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People’s Republic of May 31, 2016 No. 7-20, guided by the laws of the DPR, normative legal acts of the Chapter Donetsk People’s Republic and the Government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, as well as international treaties of the Donetsk People’s Republic.
In 2019, the activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a state body responsible for the implementation of the foreign policy vector of the Republic significantly increased, at the present moment we can already talk about significant results in this direction.
In 2019, the most important event for the formation of the Republic’s international relations took place: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed and in March 2019 signed a Decree on the approval of the Foreign Policy Concept of the Donetsk People's Republic by the DPR Head. This document at the legislative level established priorities, goals, objectives and methods for implementing the foreign policy of the Republic, as an integral part of a full-fledged sovereign, democratic and legal state, the highest value of which is a person.
The adoption of this act allowed to formally consolidate the main areas of interaction with external actors. Among them are our closest partners: Lugansk People's Republic, Republic of South Ossetia, Republic of Abkhazia and Russian Federation. Thus, the most important strategic priorities of the foreign policy of the Donetsk People's Republic are:
1. The development of friendly relations with the Russian Federation and the countries of former socialist community, as well as with the new independent states;
2. Strengthening and developing political economic, cultural, social and other relations with the peoples of the Republic of Abkhazia, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, the Transnistrian Moldavian Republic;
3. Participation in integration processes in the Eurasian space;
4. Interaction with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe;
5. Obtaining international recognition by joining universal international organizations, including the UN.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic is making every effort to ensure coherent and orderly interaction between our Republic and other states, the result of which in 2019 was a series of concluded agreements designed to strengthen and expand interstate cooperation. So, in 2019, the Donetsk People’s Republic concluded more than 20 official treaties, agreements and memoranda. The most significant of the concluded acts are the Cooperation Agreement between the State Council of the Republic of Crimea and the People’s Council of the Donetsk People’s Republic, the Agreement on Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation between the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Republic of South Ossetia, the Protocol on Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation between the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, the Cooperation Agreement in the field of labor, employment and social protection of the population between the Donetsk People's Republic and the Lugansk People's Republic and others.
I would like to note the positive dynamics in the development of relations with the fraternal state - the Republic of South Ossetia. A big amount of work has been made on opening embassies and completing the process of the formal establishment of diplomatic relations: in June 2019, the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic signed a Decree approving the Regulations on the Embassy and the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the DPR in a foreign country. The document approved the main tasks and functions, the structure and organizational activities of the embassy, and also determined the legal status, main tasks and powers of the person who is filling the public office of the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the DPR in a foreign country. We continue to hold bilateral consultations on administrative and organizational matters with our partners from South Ossetia, who, like us, are interested in opening the embassy as soon as possible.
Taking into account the contribution of the Representative Centers of the Donetsk People's Republic to the development of international relations and the formation of a positive image of the Republic, in 2019 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued to expand the geography of new representative centers. Over the past year two new Representative Centers were opened - in Verona (Italy) and Derdenmond (Belgium). Let me remind you that at present seven Representative Centers are opened in Europe, while we are soon expecting the opening of several more such centers in foreign countries. Thanks to the significant contribution and support of our foreign friends, every year we are increasingly actively disseminating truthful information about what is really happening in Donbass. Moreover, the activities of our foreign centers determine the development of relations between the Republic and foreign countries in the framework of cultural, sports, scientific, educational, economic and other fields.
As for the events in our Representation Centers, they are held on a regular basis. In 2019, about 35 events were held, including information campaigns, meetings with citizens of foreign countries, conferences, online TV conferences, etc. The best examples are:
1. Italian directors Luca Belardi and Maya Nogradi, with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the DPR Representative Center in the Italian Republic, shot the movie “Quiet! There is a performance” about the work under artillery shelling in the Donetsk Academic Opera and Ballet Theater. They organized und play the performance “Swan Lake ”. This movie was awarded the Grand Prix of the III International Russian Film Festival in Moscow;
2. President of the Charity Association “Help Save the Children” Ennio Bordato organized a holiday-trip for children from the front-line village of Yasnoye, Gorlovka;
3. The head of the Representation Center in Greece, Andreas Zafeiris, met Venezuelan Ambassador to Athens Freddie Fernandez. During the visit, Mr. Zafeiris told about the situation in Donbass and conveyed to the Ambassador of Venezuela a diplomatic note from the DPR Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
4. The Head of the Representation Center in Finland, Johan Bäckmann, visited the Republic of Nicaragua. During his visit, Mr. Bäckman met the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Nicaragua, Gustavo Eduardo Porras Cortes, to whom he handed over a letter from the DPR People’s Council Chairman V.A. Bidevka.
In 2019, a momentous event took place - the first meeting of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics representatives with a representative of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, head of the Committee for Economic Cooperation, Development and Health of the Alternative for Germany faction of the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany Ulrich Oehme. During the meeting, it was possible to discuss such crucial issues as the humanitarian situation in the Republics, the protection and enforcement of human rights in Donbass, and the situation in Minsk process. In addition, it was decided to further develop a dialogue between representatives of Donbass and official European structures.
With the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the participation of representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the Fifth International Trade Exhibition for the Restoration of Syria “Re-build Syria 2019” was organized, which allowed establishing valuable contacts and communications for the Republic, its economic development and foreign policy position.
The leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also took part in major international economic, socio-political events in the Russian Federation. Among them are the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the 5th Yalta International Economic Forum, the international scientific-practical conference "Economic Ecology and Environmental Strategy", the 13th Assembly of the Russian World and others.
In addition, it is worth noting that the Donetsk International Investment Forum was organized and held with the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It brought together more than 500 potential investors, more than 250 of them are representatives of 17 foreign countries.
The energetic activity of organizing international events with the participation of Russian representatives has a positive impact on the intensive, integrated process of integration of the Donetsk People's Republic with the Russian Federation and its constituent entities. Regular visits by deputies of the State Duma, members of the Federation Council, and other influential political and public figures of the Russian Federation are also of great importance from the point of view of integration into the Russian space. Since 2014, our most important aspiration has been to be together with Russia, to go with the Russian state in one direction, and 2019 has shown that this task is being fully realized.
An important aspect in the implementation of the Republican foreign policy vector is the visits of foreign countries representatives. Foreign guests from near and far abroad continue to regularly visit Donetsk People’s Republic with humanitarian and business visits, thereby making sure of the socio-political maturity of the Donetsk People’s Republic, its openness to a constructive dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation. Considerable assistance in organizing such visits is provided by the Representative Centers of the Republic.
In 2019, the Republic was visited by about 600 foreign delegates from 25 countries. Official delegations from the Russian Federation, the Lugansk People's Republic, the Republic of South Ossetia, the Republic of Abkhazia, as well as political and public figures from far abroad countries come to us.
It should be noted that the geography of Republic’s foreign contacts has expanded significantly - now we are cooperating with representatives of Turkey, Brazil, Bangladesh, Yemen, Tajikistan, Iran, Egypt and many others. In addition, I want to emphasize that due to the activities of the Representative Centers of the Donetsk People’s Republic and assistance of foreign partners of the DPR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, contacts were established with government officials and diplomats from the Syrian Arab Republic, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Republic of Nicaragua, and the Republic of San Marino.
I also note that in 2019, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Legatus Youth Diplomacy Center was opened. It is is a permanent platform for a wide dialogue and professional development of students, graduate students and young scientists of the DPR, Russia and other countries. As part of the 1st scientific and educational program of the Center for Youth Diplomacy, 32 students are currently studying, officials of the Republic and foreign guests regularly conduct lectures for the students.
In 2019 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs played a central role in representing the interests of the Donetsk People's Republic in the Minsk negotiation process to resolve the conflict in Donbass. In particular, in 2019, the Ministry continued to carry out the functions of managing and coordinating the activities of all working groups, accumulating the information received from them, as well as providing information and analytical support for negotiations at the Contact Group level. In addition, in 2019, the leadership and employees of the Ministry carried out analytical, political science and legal support for the negotiation process in its political part.
Over the past year, 22 meetings of the Contact Group and working groups on security, political, humanitarian and economical issues took place. In the framework of these meetings, representatives of the Republic managed to achieve certain progress in the implementation of Minsk agreements.
On December 29, 2019, the held persons were exchanged. The Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics handed over to the Ukrainian side 76 people, representatives of Ukraine handed back 124 detained persons. At the same time, this exchange will be considered fully completed only after Ukraine has submitted all documents attesting to the completion of the procedures required for exemption from criminal punishment for all persons to be exchanged.
Also in 2019, within the framework of the Contact Group, the Steinmeier’s formula was agreed. This is to a certain extent a Republic’s diplomatic victory, since we managed to literally force Kiev to agree with the text of this formula. However, it must be understood that the coordination of this mechanism for the entry into force of the law on Donbass special status by conflict parties is the very initial stage of a political settlement, with a huge amount of work ahead.
As part of the work of the group on economical issues, it was possible to agree with the Ukrainian party and begin to implement the schedule for the international audit of “Water Donbass Company”. This process will serve to stabilize the financial and economic activities of the enterprise, develop transparent mechanisms for its management and, most importantly, contribute to the stability of water supply throughout Donbass on both sides of the contact line.
In addition, last year in Minsk, it was possible to reach an agreement on the so-called permanent ceasefire. However, this event, although it allowed to reduce the number of shellings, but still did not stop them completely - the Ukrainian side still opens fire onto our territory. The situation is the same with the coordination of additional measures to control the ceasefire - this in itself is a clearly constructive shift, but Kiev does not properly implement these agreements.
At the same time, I note that the representatives of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs involved in the Minsk process, in particular, will continue to make every effort to ensure that the Ukrainian side fulfills its obligations under the documents of the Minsk package. Negotiations in the Minsk format continue to be an uncontested diplomatic mechanism for the resumption of peace in Donbass.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is actively involved in the development of regulatory legal acts regulating foreign policy and international relations of the Republic.
The most significant act developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and signed by the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic in 2019 was the Foreign Policy Concept, the significance of which was already mentioned earlier.
Another important document in the framework of improving the foreign policy framework was the draft decree “On the Approval of the Regulation on the Embassy of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Regulation on the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Donetsk People’s Republic” developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Decree was signed by the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic on June 21, 2019.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in accordance with the Law “On the Government of the Donetsk People’s Republic,” developed a draft Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic “On Approving the Regulation on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic”. This project is being approved by the Administration of the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic.
In addition, the Ministry keeps journals of registration of bilateral and multilateral international treaties. In 2019, 13 international treaties were registered, of which 1 interstate, 3 intergovernmental and 9 interdepartmental.
In total, in 2019, the Ministry considered 29 draft international treaties sent by Ministries and departments to coordinate the possibility of their conclusion.
Humanitarian program for the reunification of Donbass people
The Humanitarian program for the reunification of Donbass people, which has been implemented for three years, is an important initiative that is aimed at helping residents of Donbass in the most important areas of life: social security, provision of medical care, educational, administrative and legal services, as well as environmental safety. For three years, we were able to see how important it is to support not only the residents of the Donetsk People’s Republic, but also those of our countrymen who are currently on the other side of the contact line.
Now we can safely say that the Humanitarian Program is of great interest: over three years, more than 95 thousand requests from residents of entire Donbass have been received on the hotlines and website of the Humanitarian program.
Over the indicated period, more than 63 thousand residents of Donbass took part in the Humanitarian program. In particular, more than 4 thousand citizens of such categories as veterans of the Great Patriotic War, large families, children with disabilities, people with special labor services to their homeland, coal workers, veterans of pedagogical work and sports received help in the form of social benefits for the total amount about 38 million rubles. Also, within the framework of the Humanitarian program, the United Donbass Fund operates, which helps people in a difficult life situation. Over the entire period of operation, the Fund on a parity basis helped more than 11 thousand residents of Donbass for a total of about 400 million rubles.
In addition, as part of the Humanitarian program, joint cultural, sports, scientific, educational, and professional events are held. So, over three years, about 2100 events were held, in which more than 35 thousand residents of Donbass took part.
In addition, there are 4 centers of social assistance and administrative services at checkpoints of the contact line, in which over four thousand various services have been provided over three years.
At the moment, we already fully understand which areas are most relevant and how to optimize the scope of the program, introduce new directions, categories of beneficiaries, etc. The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic decided to extend the Humanitarian program to year 2020, in order to help an even larger number of residents of Donbass.
Special Committee on recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass
The main task of the Special Committee for recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of Ukrainian authorities in Donbass is an identification and documentation of the circumstances of the Ukrainian state committing crimes against humanity and war crimes.
During the work, the efforts of the members of the Special Commission approved the form of a single register of the database for recording the Ukraine’s crimes, and also created a single database of dead and wounded children in the Republic. At the moment, work is underway to form a database of wounded adult residents of the Republic. The Special Committee hotline also continues to function, and citizens are regularly informed about the activities of the commission through the distribution of information leaflets.
Over the entire period of the Committee’s work, 18,095 cases in such areas as civilians (dead) - 615 cases, civilians (wounded) - 1,140 cases, children (dead) - 83 cases, children (wounded) - 168 records, prisoners of war and illegally detained persons (civil, military and political prisoners) - 52 records. Work is also underway on processing into a single register of acts of inspection of social facilities and housing stock of cities and regions of the Republic damaged as a result of hostilities - 16,037 entries have been made to date.
All the facts gathered by the efforts of the members of the Special Committee are weighty arguments in the work of the profile groups in Minsk.
Interdepartmental Committee for the Accreditation of Humanitarian Missions
The DPR Ministry of Foreign Affairs also coordinates the activities of the Interdepartmental Committee for the Accreditation of Humanitarian Missions. Currently, the activities of 8 humanitarian organizations (missions) are accredited in the Republic, in cooperation with which a number of humanitarian projects have been implemented.
- reparations were carried out in healthcare, education and social protection institutions;
- a number of educational institutions are provided with materials for the organization of the educational process (school furniture), meals for students (kitchen utensils, refrigerators, stoves, electric meat grinders, etc.), as well as water heating tanks, blankets, solar-powered lamps;
- a number of institutions are provided with hygiene products for bed patients, bedding sets;
- a number of deliveries of medical equipment, property, medicines;
- among socially unprotected categories of citizens, the issuance of heaters, hygiene products, medicines, food and hygiene kits, children's warm clothing, etc .;
- a number of households received goods and materials for growing vegetables and poultry.
In order to reduce the level of social tension, a number of programs have been implemented to provide individual assistance to citizens (warm clothes, household appliances, hygiene products, repair/installation of plastic windows/balcony blocks, etc.)
Separately, it should be noted large projects, in the framework of which:
- polio vaccine was received (for vaccination of more than 25,000 children);
- more than 1,000 private households received the necessary building materials for reconstruction (windows installed);
- more than 8,000 families of the Republic are provided with solid household fuel.
In the current 2020, the Committee will continue its activities to formulate and send to the accredited organizations the needs of the Republic in humanitarian assistance.
Work with appeals of individuals and legal entities
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is active in working with applications from residents of the Donetsk People's Republic and foreign citizens. There is a personal reception, counseling over the phone and via e-mail. In 2019, representatives of the DPR Ministry of Foreign Affairs answered 279 requests received from individuals and legal entities. In addition, 1,630 hotline consultations, 184 personal appointments and 115 email consultations were provided. Also, employees of the Ministry provided 458 responses to requests from state authorities, institutions and organizations; reviewed 340 draft regulations.
At the end of my report, I want to note that in 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to implement the foreign policy tasks assigned to the department. We plan to further expand the base of international contacts in order to ensure the full participation of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the global foreign policy, information and event space. In addition, in 2020 it is planned to complete the process of opening the Embassy of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the Republic of South Ossetia, as well as to open a number of new representative centers of the DPR in foreign countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic will continue to conduct systematic work aimed at strengthening the political viability of the Republic and its readiness to actively engage in multilateral interstate cooperation. We will do our best for the methodical and steady development of foreign policy relations of the Donetsk People’s Republic, protection of the interests of Donbass residents abroad, the formation of the image of the Republic as a civilized, independent state, which is increasingly becoming a full-fledged subject of international relations.