The initiative to set up an inter-parliamentary contact group on the Ukrainian conflict settlement was brought forward in late June by the speaker of the Russian parliament’s lower house, Sergei Naryshkin, at a session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku. The European organization voiced its support for the initiative.
“We expected that the contact group would be formed operatively and would immediately begin its work since there was no time to waste as each day was taking away lives of people in the southeastern Ukraine,” Naryshkin said on Friday during his meeting with Chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Ilkka Kanerva.“Unfortunately, this is not happening,” the Russian lawmaker said. “It seems that our Ukraine partners are not yet ready for the constructive and operative work and as far as I understand they keep restraining the formation of this contact group.”
Kanerva said that the PA OSCE highly evaluates Naryshkin’s initiative particularly in the light of the recent developments in Ukraine and more active involvement of international organizations in the resolution of the conflict, in particular the recent EU summit in Brussels and the current NATO summit in Welles.
The mooted PA OSCE contact group envisaged up to 12 representatives from the organization’s member states. The group initially planned to gather for its first session this or the next month with the aim of working out recommendations on the solution of the Ukrainian crisis.
Pro-Kiev troops and local militias in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums.
During the military operation, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled east.
According to the United Nations data, more than 2,100 people have been killed and over 5,000 wounded between mid-April and mid-August in fighting in eastern Ukraine between Ukrainian army soldiers and local militiamen.