On August 23, in Minsk, a regular meeting of the Contact group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbass took place. The agenda included issues related to compliance with the “silence regime”, the implementation of the agreement on the disengagement of forces and facilities, as well as the exchange of prisoners.
As the source from the peace talks reports from Minsk, the Ukrainian party continues to delay the process of prisoners’ exchanging. According to the source, the discussion in the subgroup on humanitarian issues continues to revolve around the question what does “all for all” mean.
“For us it is quite clear that “everyone” means “everyone”, but the Ukrainian party continues to divide the exchange lists into separate subgroups and categories. We consider absolutely unacceptable attempts to distort the interpretation of the paragraph 6 of the Package of Measures, which clearly specifies the release and exchange of all hostages and illegally detained persons on the basis of the “all for all” principle.
This political decision was made by the Contact group, signed by both the Heads of the Republics and the Ukrainian president, supported by the “Normandy format”. There are simply no other solutions, in our opinion,” the source said.
He also added that the Contact group members noted some progress in the work of the subgroup on economic issues.
“In particular, it concerns the water supply of the Lugansk People’s Republic, where, despite the difficulties with the payment, the debt for the supplied water was extinguished and the water supply was resumed.
In addition, the negotiators managed to discuss issues related to the operation of the enterprise “Water of Donbass”, the need of the Ukrainian side to pay wage arrears to employees of the railway, the organization of expert meetings on the environmental situation in the Donbass,” said the source.
According to the source, the DPR envoy for the peace talks Denis Pushilin called of the OSCE SMM to the proper reaction to the shelling of the Petrovsky district of Donetsk on August 20, when, during the liquidation of fire, the chief guard of the third fire-rescue unit of the DPR MES Valery Vdovichenko was killed and two other rescuers were injured.
The envoy called unacceptable the deliberate opening of fire on the people who assumed a humanitarian mission. Rescuers are not military and cannot pose a threat to the opposing side.