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Inhumane blockade in Donbas persists — Russia’s OSCE ambassador

October 09, 2015, 12:41 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Local residents have no access to pure drinking water, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law, Alexander Lukashevich points out

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© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, October 9. /TASS /. Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich has pointed to the persisting inhumane blockade in Donbas. He was speaking in Vienna at a meeting on the situation in Ukraine and the need to implement the Minsk agreements. The text of his speech has been posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

"We believe that progress in the humanitarian and economic areas should give an additional impetus to the peace process," the Russian diplomat said. "Some progress has been made in prisoner exchanges, the delivery of international humanitarian aid has become possible. Over the past week, dozens of trucks were able to deliver assistance to those in need."

"However, the inhumane blockade of Donbas persists," Lukashevich noted. "Local residents have no access to pure drinking water, which is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. Restrictions on the citizens’ freedom of movement remain in force."

Meetings on Ukraine give hope that month-long efforts will not be in vain

The recent meetings on Ukraine give hope that month-long international efforts to help defuse the political crisis in the country will not go in vain, Russia’s Ambassador to the OSCE went on to say.

"Now, after the meeting in Paris, we expect to see real actions from Kiev rather than an imitation [of actions]," the diplomat said. "To delay the process further is not in the interests of both the Ukrainian people and its European partners." "By shirking the direct dialogue with Donetsk and Luhansk and the need to coordinate the modality of the elections with them, Kiev has already missed the chance to hold local elections across the country on the single voting day in October," he noted.

"Nevertheless, the recent meetings on Ukraine make it possible to hope that the month-long international efforts to help resolve the political crisis in the country, including by the OSCE, will not go in vain," Russia’s ambassador said. "The chances for success hinge on Kiev’s further actions to scrupulously comply with its obligations enshrined in the Minsk Package of Measures, its willingness to actually seek joint solutions to the problems in the east of the country in the interests of preserving Ukraine’s unity and territorial integrity."

Foreign mercenaries in Ukraine’s armed forces contradict with Minsk-provisions

Kiev’s decision to allow military service to foreign citizens as well the decision illegal armed formations become parts of the armed forces have nothing to do with the Minsk agreements, Alexander Lukashevich continued.

"The Ukrainian authorities demonstrate a similar approach regarding item 10 of the Complex Measures on Implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said. "Instead of disarming the illegal groups, they are made parts of the country’s forces, and now the authorities have also legalised the service there of foreign mercenaries. Those ‘innovations’ have nothing to do with the Minsk accords."

The Russian ambassador said Kiev also ignored other provisions of the Complex of Measures to Implement the Minsk agreements.

"The law on Donbas special status is not working, the law on amnesty is missing," he said. "Addendums to the constitution, which key element should be decentralization minding specifics of Donbas, have never been discussed with representatives of the region."

At the same time, after stabilization of the situation at the front line, it is necessary to focus on implementation of the political requirements of Minsk-2.

"The summit of the Normandy Four in Paris on October 2 has removed misunderstanding regarding certain requirements of the Minsk Complex of Measures, confirmed a lack of alternative to it as a basis for the peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbass," the ambassador said.

Item 10 of the Complex of Measures to Implement the Minsk agreements reads necessary withdrawal from the territory of Ukraine of all foreign armed formations and disarmament of illegal groups. The document was signed by Special Representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Heidi Tagliavini, Ukraine’s second President Leonid Kuchma, Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, as well as the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky.

OSCE observers should agree drones flights with both sides

The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the OSCE in Ukraine should agree use of technical means, including drones, with both parties to the conflict in Donbas, Russia’s Ambassador to OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said.

"We stress the OSCE observers should observe strictly the parity, "mirror" approach to both parties," he said. "Observation and verification of the military equipment withdrawal, control of locations to keep it should be provided evenly at both sides from the engagement line and should be in SMM reports."

"This is equally applicable to use of technical means of observation, use of which should be agreed with all the parties," the ambassador said. "It is necessary to exclude the practice, where routes of drones are discussed and detailed with one party, while the other party receives only vague information."

The diplomat regretted "some reports demonstrate a difference in presenting information on similar violations by Kiev’s military or by the militia."

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