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Contact group’s last meeting in 2016 held in Minsk (UPDATED)

On December 21, Contact group’s last meeting in 2016 on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass held in Minsk. The agenda included issues of compliance with the armistice, the implementation of the agreement on disengagement of forces and means, exchange of prisoners.

According to a source from Minsk at peace negotiations, the subgroup on economic issues has not started to work.

“Alas, no recommendations of the “Normandy Four” or the mass of the accumulated problems have convinced the Ukrainian side to unlock the work of the economic subgroup. This is despite the fact that on December 1, Ukraine almost completely stopped supplying the LPR with water, the reconstruction of the railway spans is blocked, discussion of pensions’ payment to citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, power supplies and many other is non-existent.

These and other economic issues should be addressed by the profile subgroup. Not on the sidelines, not in the correspondence, not in the Contact group, but only by economists-negotiators, whose candidacy was approved by the leadership of the parties. DPR’s envoy Denis Pushilin insisted on this today during the meeting of the Contact group,” the source said.

Political subgroup once again could not even begin discussing the first item of the agenda.

“The Ukrainian side is deliberately sabotaging the consideration of the Package of measures’ political issues. And this is despite the fact that the road map’s development directly involves the representatives of the countries-participants of the “Normandy format,” and the need to implement “Steinmeier’s formula” was supported by absolutely all participants of “Normandy Four.” Destructive position of the Ukrainian side, as well as the situation in military terms, not to speak of Ukraine’s desire to resolve the conflict through political dialogue,” the source said .

According to the source, humanitarian subgroup’s negotiators managed to achieve a number of important agreements on the issue of prisoner exchange.

“Currently we are actively working with lists of exchanged. We strive in every way to ensure that there was a big exchange of prisoners before the end of the year.

However, this does not mean that there had been a real agreement on the exchange. Problem’s solution depends on all participants of the negotiating process, and, unfortunately, our desire is not enough,” the source added.

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