“Since there is little trust between the sides, it [the Minsk agreement] will be difficult to implement at once,” Purgin told ITAR-TASS. “Therefore, it is impossible to speak about any specific dates.”
On Friday, the Contact Group consisting of representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as well as representatives from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic signed a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of the ceasefire commitments laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
Purgin said the Minsk talks of the Contact Group last Friday “were difficult and lasted eight hours.”“The reached agreements must be implemented,” he said. “The most difficult provision is the separation of military forces and formation of the 30-kilometers [over 18 miles] security buffer zone. The operative situation remains complicated.”
In line with one of the agreements reached on Friday, each of the conflicting parties will have to withdraw troops from the contact line 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) into their territories forming a 30-kilometers security buffer zone.
“One of the questions is whether the OSCE will be able to serve its purpose as the observers from the organization are not presenting a peacekeeping force and they are not capable of conducting a process of separation and control, since their function is solely of observing,” Purgin said.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire and exchange of captives during the OSCE-mediated talks in Minsk on September 5 that came two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his seven-point plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day, but reports have said it has been violated several times.
Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on September 16 passed a law granting special self-rule status to certain districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for three years. Elections to local self-government bodies were set for December 7. The special status law was stipulated by the Minsk agreements.
The parliament also passed a law on amnesty for participants of combat activities in Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions except for those people who committed serious crimes.