On June 21, in Minsk, a regular meeting of the Contact group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbass was held. The agenda included issues related to the exchange of prisoners, the ceasefire observance, the disengagement of forces and facilities in Stanitsa Luganskaya, and the withdrawal of prohibited weapons from the contact line.
As the source in the peace talks reports from the capital of Belarus, the negotiators spent most of today’s meeting on security issues. Among the decisions that can be considered positive are the announcement of a “grain truce” and the development of mechanisms to ensure the safety of water supply facilities.
“Thus, the Contact group members supported the idea of the so-called “grain ceasefire” from 12:00 am on June 24 – the ceasefire regime for harvesting. According to the proposal, the truce should last until August 31. However, the negotiators expressed hope that the silence will last longer. At that, Denis Pushilin stressed the importance of developing mechanisms for maintaining the “silence regime”.
According to the DPR envoy, one of such mechanisms is the disengagement of forces and means. It is the withdrawal of weapons and units in the pilot areas, and then along the entire contact line, that can become the key to a sustainable ceasefire. However, with the implementation of the forces and assets disengagement in the last pilot site – in Stanitsa Luganskaya – there have been difficulties so far,” the source said.
The source also added that at the meeting today the negotiators resorted to taking drastic measures to carry out more thorough monitoring of the situation in the third pilot site, in Stanitsa Luganskaya, for the subsequent implementation of the forces and facilities disengagement on June 26.
“The issue of safety of water supply facilities on both sides of the contact line was no less important topic of discussion. The Contact group heard the proposal of the working group on safety about the methods of organizing safe operation of pumping and filtering stations, ensuring the work of repair teams etc.
Considering that today because of constant shelling of water supply facilities by Ukrainian forces, about two million citizens are threatened to be cut off water, with most of the recipients are in the territory under Ukraine’s control, the issue remains one of the most important. The negotiators came to a decision to work out the proposal of the working group in detail and come to a final decision at the next meeting,” the source said.
As part of the Contact group meeting, Denis Pushilin raised the issue of the discrepancy between the draft law on the “reintegration” of the Donbass, being developed by the Ukrainian side, to the existing Minsk agreements.
“According to the plenipotentiary representative, high humanitarian purposes conceal Ukraine’s intentions to launch open and full-scale military actions. The paragraphs of this bill, even those that have become available to the general public, expand the powers of the Ukrainian president manifoldly, allowing the Ukrainian side to infringe the rights of the Donbass inhabitants. The DPR will not accept any normative acts not agreed with the Republics,” the source concluded.