On March 14, another meeting of the Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbass took place in Minsk. The agenda included issues of compliance with the armistice, the implementation of the agreement on the disengagement of forces and facilities in Stanitsa Luganskaya, the preparation of the exchange of prisoners and the implementation of the Steinmeier’s Formula. In addition, the negotiators raised the issues of resuming Vodafone signal in the territory of the Republics and ensuring the safety of the Donetsk filtering station’s personnel, taking into account the automobile platoon transporting station personnel targeted by the Ukrainian military.
As a source at the peace talks reports from the capital of Belarus, during the meeting the participants have reached an agreement on exchanging letters on the steps to restore communications, including security guarantees for inspections of Vodafone employees at communication centers, proposals and plans for repair and modernization of equipment, restoration of emergency operations numbers.
According to the source, security issues during the discussion are traditionally the most acute.
“Since the beginning of the spring truce, three automobile columns transporting the personnel of the Donetsk filtering station to the place of work have been fired on, DPR one serviceman was killed as a result of sniper fire, two houses were damaged. All this, according to the DPR representative Denis Pushilin, are the consequences of the lack of orders to the Ukrainian armed forces’ personnel on the need to adhere to the ceasefire regime, the continuation of provocative actions on the part of Ukraine and blocking the process of disengagement of forces and facilities at the third pilot site in Stanitsa Luganskaya.
Representatives of the Republics reminded the Ukrainian side of the need to publish orders for compliance with the ceasefire, as well as the development and application of disciplinary measures against violators. Denis Pushilin paid particular attention to the issue of ensuring the safety of the Donetsk filtering station personnel. Aimed shelling of the working transport and DFS officers is nothing but a purposeful provocation of the Ukrainian side and a cynical act of aggression against the people of the Donbass. Stopping the filtering station threatens a critical situation with water supply for more than half a million recipients. The DPR envoy addressed the OSCE representatives with a request to assist in ensuring the safety of station personnel,” the source said.
Also, within the framework of the meeting, issues related to the exchange of prisoners were considered.
“The position of the Republics with respect to the process of exchanging prisoners remains unchanged: we are against the division of prisoners into categories. The exchange should be carried out according to the formula “all for all”, as it is written in the Set of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” the source concluded.