On November 29, a regular meeting of the contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass was held in Minsk. The agenda included the observance of ceasefire, the implementation of agreements on the withdrawal of proscribed weapons and the separation of forces and means, as well as discussions on the preparation of the exchange and release of prisoners.
The source at the peace talks in Minsk reports that the Heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics confirmed that Donbass was ready to exchange prisoners with the Ukrainian side at the earliest possible date.
ʺThe DPR and LPR are ready to exchange prisoners until Christmas and Christmas holidays. The plenipotentiary representatives Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deynego announced it today during the meeting of the Contact group. Republics are fully prepared to exchange on the lists of detainees, currently approved. The return of our people will be the best gift for the holidays and for their loved ones, as well as for Donbass,ʺ the source said.
However, according to the source, the Ukrainian side does not stop trying to divert the attention of the negotiators from the most pressing problems.
ʺOpportunistic issues of private ownership imposed by Ukraine, external management issues in the Republics and the issues of railway wagons cannot be considered in isolation from the main task of the Sub-group on economic issues – lifting of economic blockade. In turn, the lifting of the blockade is unlikely to take place without a full political settlement. Denis Pushilin drew attention of the participants of the Contact Group to it.
Unfortunately, these and other issues of an economic nature can only be discussed but not decided by the representatives of the parties until the Ukrainian side lifts the economic blockade. These narrow issues only take the working time of negotiators, depriving them of the ability to find viable ways of normalizing economic relations, restoring the banking system and repaying pensions to the residents of Donbass,ʺ the source emphasized.
During the meeting of the Contact Group, the Republics reaffirmed their commitment to the ceasefire regime and also stressed the need for public confirmation of the existence of orders from official Kiev to the Ukrainian armed forces.
ʺSo far, the Ukrainian side has not been able to publish an appropriate order for the imposition of the ceasefire and other regulations governing the mechanism of disciplinary responsibility for violators. Not bringing such orders to military personnel by even one careless Ukrainian commander leads to the aggravation of situation at the line of contact and, as a result, to the destruction of infrastructure and civilian casualties. There is no reason for Donbass to trust Ukraine. Further delay in the publication of relevant orders by the Ukrainian side can only speak of Ukraine’s unwillingness to adhere to the armistice.
However, the most outrageous, according to negotiators of the LDPR, was the lack of due reaction from the world community and individual humanitarian organizations to the occupation by the Ukrainian armed forces of the human settlements Mayskoye and Gladosovo. Information on the widespread cleansing of local population organized there, the incapacity of the Ukrainian side to monitor the situation and distribute food is of particular concern to the Republics.
The plenipotentiary representative of the DPR Denis Pushilin called upon the participants of the Contact Group to implement existing agreements on the separation of forces and means, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and other decisions of the Contact Group aimed at ensuring seize fire regime at the line of contact,ʺ the source summed up.