One of the priority issues on the agenda of the Contact Group’s work in Minsk for 2018 the OSCE SMM calls anti-mine activity.
In this regard, it is necessary to clearly understand that the technical issues of the security bloc, such as demining, heavy weapons withdrawal or the disengagement of forces and facilities, are inextricably linked to the political bloc of the overall settlement.
The political part is the basis for all other issues, and while it is in a deep stagnation, any other issues are sorted with moans and groans.
Despite the agreements reached on the ceasefire and additional measures to control it, the level of escalation is unstable, there is no complete and continuous cessation of hostilities.
We are convinced that this is due to the lack of a unified understanding of the conflict resolution among people who are on the frontline. On the one hand, there are the Minsk agreements, which clearly stipulate how the de-escalation process should take place (including the ban on the installation of minefields), on the other hand, the absence of any progress in the political part against the backdrop of statements of Ukraine’s first persons about the military ways of conflict resolution.
It is natural that such a situation generates mistrust and creates the conditions under which people on both sides of the contact line are preparing not for peace but for war. Both sides see these processes, and if one of the parties does not take mirror measures, this will mean a defeat for it. Obviously, if there are no minefields, the possibility of an enemy’s breakthrough increases many-fold, as well as the seizure of territories that the AFU has carried out repeatedly over the past two years.
And this state of affairs will continue until the conditions for coexistence are determined, political rules are established. If there is still no special status for the Donbass, there is no amnesty, there are no elections, and so on, it means that the Ukrainian party is betting on another option for resolving the conflict, making decisions that run counter to the Minsk agreements. The obvious proof of this is the law on ‘reintegration’ adopted by the parliament.
Naturally, all this is reflected in the situation along the line of contact. Hence the need to take mirror measures, in particular in matters related to mines. We note that against the background of the lack of total demining, the progress is achieved in local cases, taking into account the general and state security interests of the parties.
However, the reality is that while there are no political decisions in the Minsk process, the main goal – the complete de-escalation of the conflict – is unattainable.
Denis Pushilin, the Chairman of the DPR People’s Council,
the Permanent Representative of the DPR to the negotiations of the Contact Group in Minsk