On December 5, in Minsk, the regular meeting of the Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbass was held. The agenda of the meeting included issues of compliance with the ceasefire regime, the implementation of agreements on the withdrawal of prohibited weapons and the disengagement of forces and facilities. A discussion of the conditions for preparing the exchange of prisoners also took place.
“Despite the absence of Viktor Medvedchuk and Irina Gerashchenko in Minsk, the subgroup on humanitarian issues continued work on preparing the process of exchanging prisoners, which should be held in the near future. For today, we can talk about the existence of approved lists of persons to be exchanged. After settling procedural issues, the subgroup will discuss and agree on the date and place of the exchange,” a source at peace talks from Minsk reports.
According to the source, the DPR envoy Denis Pushilin expressed the hope that the exchange will be possible before the New Year and Christmas holidays.
“The upcoming New Year and Christmas holidays put before the participants of the negotiation process in Minsk the question of the need to extend the current ceasefire and reach a real result on the parties’ compliance with the ceasefire regime. All that the representatives of the Republics have repeatedly spoken about – the publication of orders for a ban on fire and adherence to a truce, the development and implementation of disciplinary measures to influence the offender, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, the disengagement of forces and facilities – are real steps towards ensuring real ‘silence’ on the contact line. Today, most of the negotiators agree with this.
The Republics are ready to implement these points. Moreover, the Donetsk People’s Republic still remains adherent to the ceasefire as of today. Undisputed discipline operates in the units of the Armed Forces of the DPR. For each violation of the ceasefire regime, the Republic conducts investigations, and the culprit is subjected to disciplinary methods of influence,” the source said.
Denis Pushilin once again stressed the need for parity between the parties to respect the ceasefire to ensure a truce. The publication of orders, the search for perpetrators of violations and the application of disciplinary methods of influence to them, he said, should be carried out by both parties to the conflict. Otherwise, it is extremely difficult to talk about a full-fledged truce.
“Unfortunately, we have not seen such attitude to the adherence to the ceasefire from Ukraine until now. The dynamics of shelling is growing every day. Even today, when the negotiators were looking for ways to de-escalate the situation, the Petrovsky district of Donetsk was bombarded with mortars of 120-mm calibre, a civilian, innocent person was wounded in the head,” the source concluded.