Denis Pushilin raises issue of more frequent shelling of Donbass civilian towns at meeting of Contact Group in Minsk

On June 1, the trilateral Contact group on settlement of the conflict in Donbass began its work. The following issues were put on the agenda of this meeting: aggravation of military situation, demining of priority areas, as well as the results of the subgroups` work.

During the meeting, members of the humanitarian subgroup raised the question of Ukraine`s denying the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture access to the places where, according to the human rights organization, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) detains and tortures people.

“In the view of the negotiators, such actions of the Ukrainian government ruin its international image and suggest that Ukraine has something to hide.

Discussing this issue at the meeting of the Contact group, Denis Pushilin stressed that thousands of innocent prisoners languishing in the SBU torture chambers, got there for political reasons – for posts on social media and dissent – and are held in inhumane conditions. To avoid and prevent such actions, there is the relevant article in the Package of measures, but the negotiators have been struggling with the Amnesty Law for more than a year already”, a source noted.

The source drew attention to the fact that it`s the second time that Ukraine was about to derange work of the political subgroup. Another representative of the Ukrainian side stated he was not authorized to discuss a number of issues on the agenda.

“For all the time of the subgroup`s work, Ukraine has not submitted any documents. While representatives of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics have produced and submitted three versions of projects on amending the Constitution of Ukraine, two versions of the electoral bill and two versions of the roadmap. The Russian Federation has introduced one more version of the roadmap. The number of projects submitted by the OSCE coordinator of the subgroup is more than ten”, the source said.

At the meeting of the Contact Group, Plenipotentiary Representative of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, raised the issues of escalation of the conflict, more frequent shelling of civilian towns, journalists and even the OSCE mission.

“According to Denis Pushilin, the parties must comply with the agreements reached and signed, and the OSCE SMM must coordinate and control their implementation. Thus, the Donetsk People’s Republic Army hasn`t made even one step departure from its positions, while the Ukrainian soldiery has approached to visibility distances in some areas”, the source told us. According to the source in the trilateral negotiations, for the past several months, the Donetsk People’s Republic has repeatedly directed attention of members of the Contact Group to a possible escalation of the conflict.

“One-sided occupation of “grey area” by Ukrainian soldiers would inevitably result in the approach of the parties and, hence, in escalation of the conflict. This happened in the area of the Yasinovataya checkpoint. Unfortunately, such actions of the Ukrainian side led to massive shelling of Yelenovka, Dokuchaevsk, Donetsk and to civilian casualties”, the source in the Minsk negotiations pointed out.

Summing up, the source said that during the meeting of the Contact Group, Denis Pushilin called statements of Ukrainian politicians a blatant lie, concerning the consent of the member states of the “Norman Quartet” and the Russian Federation, in particular, to arming of the OSCE SMM.

“In turn, the position of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics on this issue remains unchanged: we are against any armed contingent in the territory of the People’s Republics. The OSCE SMM is a civilian and unarmed organization which is responsible for monitoring and verifying the implementation of the agreements under the Package of measures. It is law enforcement authorities that should deal with law enforcement”, the source concluded.

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