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Russian envoy: Progress at Minsk talks insufficient for resolving Donbass security issues

June 03, 11:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, "the array of problems in the political sphere is still there"
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Silhouette of a child with an inscription # 101 (the number of children killed in the conflict in Donbass), on the wall in Donetsk airport

Silhouette of a child with an inscription # 101 (the number of children killed in the conflict in Donbass), on the wall in Donetsk airport

© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, June 3. /TASS/. Lack of progress in the work of the Contact Group on the settlement in eastern Ukraine does not allow so far to expect a speedy solution to the problems with the political reforms in the country and security in the Donbass region, Russia’s Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said at a meeting of the organization’s Permanent Council on the situation in Ukraine. The text of his speech has been posted on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday.

"Progress at the talks in Minsk within the Contact Group and its working subgroups is clearly insufficient for expecting a speedy solution to the key security issues and political reforms in Ukraine," he said. "The Ukrainian side stubbornly refuses to honor its obligations under the Package of Measures."

Therefore, "the array of problems in the political sphere is still there," the diplomat added.

Kiev’s statements on arming OSCE mission hinder talks

According to Lukashevich, Kiev’s unilateral statements calling to arm members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine frustrate talks.

"Unilateral statements and propaganda ‘attacks’ not only significantly worsen conditions of the SMM’s work but also frustrate the negotiating process," Lukashevich said at the OSCE Permanent Council’s meeting in Vienna on Thursday, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The diplomat reminded that in his recent statement deputy chief of Ukraine’s presidential administration Konstantin Eliseyev said Russia has allegedly backed plans for the deployment of a police mission in Donbass. "In an attempt to mistake the wish for the reality, he misinterprets the content of the Package of Measures, distorts the agreements of leaders of the Normandy Four on a scheme of further consultations," he said.

Moscow calls on Kiev to be cautious about statements on arming members of the SMM or any police mission. "All issues concerning the Donbass elections, including their security, should be solved as part of the Contact Group with the Donbass representatives," Lukashevich stressed.

Direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass

The diplomat has stressed that only direct dialogue between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics can facilitate peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis.

"The imperative of the peaceful settlement of the Ukrainian crisis is direct dialogue between the sides in the Ukrainian conflict. Other formats - bilateral formats, ‘Normandy Quartet’ (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine) - should facilitate searching for constructive resolutions but cannot and should not substitute for it," Lukashevich said at the session of the OSCE Permanent Council on the situation in Ukraine. "In the end, precisely Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk - not Moscow, Berlin, Paris or Washington - should find a way to co-exist in one state," he noted.

Lukashevich also touched upon the issue of border control. Ukraine repeatedly refused to discuss preparations for local election in Donbass citing low security in the region and demanding control over border with Russia, though this should happen only after local elections. In this regard, the diplomat reminded that restoring Kiev’s control over the border "is one of the last stages of implementation of the Package of measures, which is preceded by comprehensive political settlement in the form of a constitutional reform."

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