On May 15, a regular meeting of the Contact group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbass was held in Minsk. The agenda included issues related to the observance of the ceasefire and the prisoners’ exchange.
As a source at the peace talks reports from Minsk, representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics do not lose hope in the near future to begin direct preparation for the exchange of prisoners with the Ukrainian side.
“Despite the fact that the verification process is only partially implemented, this joint work can be considered a positive moment. This opinion was expressed during the meeting of the Contact group by the DPR envoy Denis Pushilin. According to him, if the verification was completed in full, then today the participants in the negotiation process would be able to talk about preparing for the exchange itself.
However, despite the existence of a number of issues and contradictions, the representatives of the Republics expressed hope that constructive solutions will be found with the participation of the OSCE SMM and Valeria Lutkovskaya,” the source at the negotiations in Minsk noted.
In addition, during the meeting, Denis Pushilin continued to insist on the need to conduct inspections of high-risk facilities located in the immediate vicinity of the contact line and are potentially dangerous not only for the Donbass, but also for neighbouring countries.
“As an example, the plenipotentiary representative cited the Konstantinovka Chemical Plant, which contains hundreds of tons of hydrochloric and sulfuric acids. Due to debts and lack of necessary financing, the plant has already been left without electricity. However, despite the complete stoppage of the enterprise, the plant remains a dangerous object because of the toxic waste accumulated on its territory during operation. According to the most conservative estimates, the zone of chemical contamination will be more than 1000 square kilometers, the cloud infected by a dangerous chemical substance will spread to a depth of more than 20 km, in the contamination zone there will be more than 56 settlements, and this is no less than 175,000 people. Of particular concern is the possible entry of toxic substances into the water artery of the Donbass.
Based on these and other facts, the representatives of the DPR called on the participants to facilitate joint monitoring of such dangerous production facilities and critical infrastructure facilities located in the territory temporarily controlled by Ukraine,” the source informed.