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MOSCOW, November 17. /TASS/. Kiev’s economic blockade of Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions in southeast Ukraine seeking independence from Kiev) is a step back from the political process in Ukraine, Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrey Kelin said Monday.
“We are striving for joint steps. The Minsk agreements were concluded on Russia’s initiative, we are working on the demarcation line, a number of other parameters, but we are told that everything’s wrong, that we should do this and that,” Kelin said on Rossiya 24 TV channel.
“A political settlement, a dialogue and a conversation is required. But what do we get instead? Kiev cancels the law on special rights for the southeast, the law on amnesty has been revoked; the program to restore Donbass - the last point of the Minsk agreements - is no longer considered,” he said.
“On the contrary, we hear about [President Petro] Poroshenko’s decree that isolates Donbass economically from the rest of Ukraine. There will be no money circulation, although wages, pensions and allowances have not been paid for a long time anyway,” Kelin continued.
“The talk is about economic isolation. This is not dialogue but a U-turn of the political process,” Kelin said.
According to the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at OSCE-mediated talks on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum on September 19 in Minsk, which outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The nine-point document in particular stipulates a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.