Today, on October 22, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, DPR Plenipotentiary in the Contact Group Natalia Nikonorova took part in a roundtable at the TASS press center. As previously reported, the participants were representatives of Donbass in the Minsk process, experts and political scientists.
During the event she stated that the situation in the Minsk negotiation process “went into the red” and that the Ukrainian authorities are not at all interested in direct negotiations in the name of a real, substantive and diplomatic settlement of the conflict in Donbass, but, on the contrary, escalate the situation.
Asked about the deteriorating situation on the line of contact, the DPR Plenipotentiary noted that Kiev had forgotten about measures to strengthen the ceasefire and the coordination mechanism of direct interaction at the JCCC level in September 2020, a month and a half after these measures were agreed by the parties and entered into force. For example:
“Literally yesterday morning, the armed formations of Ukraine fired the village of “Gorniak ”in the Kuibyshevsky district of Donetsk, as a result of which an 11-year-old child and an 18-year-old girl were injured. This is a monstrous crime of the Ukrainian side, the victims of the cynical shelling of which are innocent young residents of the Republic."
In addition, the DPR Minister noted the situation with the abduction of the observer of the LPR representation in the JCCC Andrey Kosiak, emphasizing that the almost complete lack of reaction from the OSCE SMM in such circumstances is absolutely unacceptable:
“The OSCE states that if their employees were not personally present at this incident, then allegedly it cannot be reflected in the reports, which means that one can even pretend that nothing happened. This is a categorically unacceptable position, which we immediately reported to the leadership of the Mission and the OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine and the Contact Group by sending a note.
Also, the head of the DPR Foreign Ministry drew attention to Kiev's unwillingness to come to a consensus, at least in the formal-procedural part of negotiations:
“For more than 7 years we have been insisting on agreeing on the regulations for holding meetings of the Contact and working Groups, because its adoption is obviously a necessary measure to streamline the process of negotiations, their intensification. But Ukraine refuses to work constructively on these regulations, and this is a litmus test showing that it is simply unprofitable for Kiev to agree to approve the rules for conducting negotiations. After all, then it will be more difficult for the Ukrainian authorities to evade the fulfillment of their obligations under the Minsk agreements.”
At the same time, the DPR Plenipotentiary at the Minsk site spoke about the set of steps that Republics took to unblock negotiations, including the draft Roadmap, additions to the Measures to strengthen the ceasefire, proposals to create a unified search mechanism for missing persons and many other initiatives. Nevertheless, as Nikonorova noted, none of these proposals received a constructive response from the Ukrainian negotiators. She also noted that the situation in the negotiation process is now even worse than it was under Poroshenko.
Summing up her speech, Natalia Nikonorova recalled that the Head of the DPR Denis Pushilin personally expressed his readiness to meet the President of Ukraine:
“The leader of the Donetsk People's Republic stated that he is ready to talk directly with the Ukrainian president, since he realizes that only through direct negotiations it is possible to achieve a strong and long-term peace. But the leadership of Ukraine, unfortunately, still cannot understand this simple truth. In essence, the Ukrainian authorities now have only two options: either to finally realize that the conflict in Donbass can be resolved only through direct negotiations with representatives of Donbass and in accordance with the Minsk agreements. Or formally withdraw from these agreements with all the ensuing measures of responsibility. And while Ukraine thinks how it should be, Republics cannot stand still. We continue to develop, we are realizing the possibility of cross-border cooperation with Russia, as provided for in the Package of measures, we are doing everything necessary to strengthen the economy, industry, medicine, culture, scientific and educational and other spheres. "