Denis Pushilin: Ukraine continues to politicize and disrupt restoration of Vodafone’s signal

On April 4, the regular meeting of the Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Donbass was held in the capital of the Republic of Belarus. The agenda of the meeting included issues of compliance with the “Easter truce”, the implementation of agreements on the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the disengagement of forces and facilities, the preparation of the exchange of prisoners and the restoration of Vodafone’s signal on the territory of the Republic.

As a source at the peace talks reports from Minsk, during the discussion of political issues, Denis Pushilin stressed the need to enact laws on special status and on amnesty according to the formula proposed by Frank Walter Steinmeier and backed by the “Normandy format” as early as 2016.

Besides, the negotiators paid special attention to the need for the disengagement of forces and facilities in the third pilot section – in Stanitsa Luganskaya.

“The Ukrainian party sabotaged the disengagement process dozens of times. Only from the end of December, 17 periods of 7-day “silence” passed, allowing the parties to disengage, but for no apparent reason Ukraine has never started the process of withdrawing forces. According to the OSCE SMM, the latest violations of the “silence regime” in the area of Stanitsa Luganskaya were recorded on March 24, indicating that there is currently a 7-day “silence” period that allows for the disengagement of forces and facilities. However, Ukraine continues to ignore the OSCE data and refuses to disengage the forces and facilities at the third pilot site,” the source said.

We shall add that in his comments on the results of the meeting the DPR envoy of for the Contact Group at the negotiations in Minsk told about the situation that arose due to the irresponsible attitude of the Ukrainian side to the issue of restoring communication of the Vodafone mobile operator.

“It is a pity that Ukraine continues to politicize, and consequently to disrupt, restoration of Vodafone’s signal. It would seem that an understanding has already been reached of what each of the parties to the conflict must do in order to prevent the communication blockade of DPR inhabitants, or rather to end the blockade, but Ukraine finds every time a new reason to postpone the launch of the mobile operator for an indefinite period.

First, Ukraine demanded additional guarantees in the area of Elenovka in the “grey zone” to repair the damaged cable, we provided these guarantees, but the signal was not restored. Further, Ukraine requested personal security guarantees for Vodafone employees in the process of equipment audit in the territory of the DPR, we also provided these guarantees. But today Ukraine stated that new guarantees for new equipment are needed, now from the mediator in the negotiation process – from Russia.

Surely Kiev has a whole arsenal of demands, which they are going to put forward in order to delay time and not to restore anything. We, of course, will continue to seek a political solution from Kiev to restore Vodafone’s connection, but when sitting at the negotiating table with a political fraud, we perfectly understand that the chances are small and, as usual, in all our relationships with our opponents, we must only rely on ourselves and our allies,” Denis Pushilin summed up.

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