DPR representatives pay special attention to security issues and critical water supply situation at negotiations in Minsk

On July 26, a regular meeting of the Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donbass took place in the capital of the Republic of Belarus. The agenda included such issues as the observance of the current truce, implementation of the framework decision of the separation of forces and means, withdrawal of heavy weapons, harmonization of “Steinmeier formula” as well as the functioning of Vodafone mobile network operator in the territories of the Republics.

According to a source at the negotiations in Minsk, the Subgroup on Economic Affairs continued discussing the full recovery of the mobile network operator Vodafone in the territories of the Republics.

ʺAn understanding reached at the last meeting on the necessity to restore an optical fibre communication line, which was damaged in Yelenovka in January 11, 2018, has faced irrelevant action of the Ukrainian side. An application for the repair of the optical fibre communication line, which was not in line with what had been agreed previously, was sent by the leadership of Vodafone. This inconsistent behaviour of the Ukrainian side, unfortunately, delays the practical implementation of the restoration of sustainable mobile communication in the territory of the Republic,ʺ the source said.

It mentioned that the Permanent Plenipotentiary Representative of the DPR in the Contact Group’s negotiations in Minsk Denis Pushilin paid special attention to critical situation regarding water supply to more than a million peaceful citizens and industrial water consumers, which resulted from the damage of South-Donbass water supply line.

ʺUnfortunately, there has been no significant progress in dealing with this issue during this time. Access to the site of water pipe breakage is extremely complicated by the consequences of hostilities: the parties will have to find the best way in order to address this complex problem.

The South-Donbass water supply line, which supplies water to six water filtration plants (including the Donetsk water filtration plant), was damaged in the winter of 2017, when the AFU advanced its positions under cover of artillery fire near the industrial area of Avdeyevka to the Donetsk water filtration plant.

No progress was registered regarding an agreement on auditing “The Water of Donbass” public utility company: the Ukrainian side impedes the process in every way, despite the variability of the approach of the Republics and ICRC.

We recall the position of the Republic: there can be no question of tariff escalation until a corresponding audit is conducted,ʺ a source underlined.

According to it, a situation concerning the payment of pension and social benefits by the Ukrainian side still remains critical.

ʺThe option, which was suggested earlier by the Republics through the International Committee of the Red Cross, of payment to the people, who have no opportunity to cross the line of contact, is blocked by the Ukrainian party’s standard excuses about an alleged inability to avoid the features of pension legislation in this scheme, as well as a so-called temporary immigrant status,ʺ the source said.

The Plenipotentiary Representative of the DPR Denis Pushilin drew the attention of participants to the fact that repair and recovery activities at the phenol factory’s sludge reservoir near the line of contact were carried out in a routine mode. According to the source, the Ukrainian party fulfils its obligations currently, which is confirmed by regular photographic reports sent to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination, as well as publicly released information in the report of the OSCE SMM stating that, according to the SMM’s aerial surveillance, there are no new signs of military presence of forces and means as of July 17 compared with the aerial survey at the beginning of the activities.

ʺThis exemplary behaviour of the Ukrainian side in the issue of restoration work at the sludge reservoir only confirms that it is able to negotiate and honour agreements in case of interest.

It should be reminded that the Ukrainian side provided the JCCC with written guarantees to fulfil the conditions for carrying out repair and recovery activities at the sludge reservoir of the phenol factory located in Novgorodskoye, which is controlled by the AFU after lengthy negotiations with the assistance of the OSCE SMM on July 10 (non-use of cease-fire regime to fortify old and new positions, carrying out repair activities during daylight hours, regular photographic report of the progress of work).

Unfortunately, the situation concerning the harmonization of applications submitted by the Republic for carrying out repair and restoration works of critical infrastructure facilities has not achieved much progress. The Ukrainian side continues to use destructive practise of the coordination of only those applications, on which the situation in the territory it controls depends. Only three applications out of 100 have been harmonized since the beginning of the year, and this means that the peaceful citizens, who reside near the front line, continue to suffer,ʺ the source said.

It added that Denis Pushilin appealed to the OSCE SMM to contribute to ending the selective approach of the Ukrainian party, which violates the rights of the people, who reside in the territory of the DPR, to assist in providing the necessary guarantees for carrying out repair and restoration works on all vitally important infrastructure facilities.

ʺThe Mission continues to document violations at the pilot areas with a clear indication of a violator – the AFU, but the Ukrainian side does not take any appropriate actions to restore the status quo at the pilot areas. The impunity of the Ukrainian side for violation of the Framework decision makes new violations possible.

Thus, the Mission’s UAV once again documented the presence of infantry fighting vehicle (BMP-2) in the previous positions of the AFU within the area of separation near the Petrovsky district and it was found in infrared light that the turret of the vehicle was hot indicating its recent use.

An alternative option, which was proposed by the representatives of the Republic within the framework of the work of the Subgroup on Security, to renew the obligations of the parties concerning the withdrawal of heavy weapons turned out to be difficult for the representatives of the rest of Ukraine to understand and accept in spite of the full support of the OSCE SMM,ʺ the source said.

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According to the results of the meeting, the Plenipotentiary Representative of the DPR Denis Pushilin made a statement about the inadmissibility of pressure by Ukraine in the light of the upcoming elections in the DPR. In particular, he drew the attention of Ukrainian authorities to the need to consolidate the law on the special status of Donbass on a permanent basis.

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