KIEV, September 22. /ITAR-TASS/. Progress in the peaceful settlement in Donbass is possible if all sides comply with the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum setting forth the terms of conflict resolution in eastern Ukraine, President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.
They discussed in a telephone conversation the situation in Donbass after the ceasefire announced on September 5.
Poroshenko and Merkel agreed that bilateral compliance with the ceasefire regime, release of captives, control on the Ukrainian-Russian border, creation of a buffer zone and effective OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) monitoring and verification in the area would signify that all parties respect and implement the agreements.
On September 20, the Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, and representatives of certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions signed a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of the ceasefire commitments laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The document consists of nine provisions, which include a line between the armed formations is established which serves as reference point for the withdrawal of military personnel and all types of arms, weapons and ammunition. Within an area of 15 kilometres on both sides of the line there shall be no military units or their weapons or ammunitions. Any offensive actions shall be prohibited. All foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as combatants and mercenaries shall be withdrawn from the Ukrainian territory. There was also agreement on the monitoring of the provisions of the memorandum by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the OSCE which is already operating on the ground in Ukraine.
Denis Pushilin, People’s Front coordinator in Novorossiya (a common name for the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics), said the memorandum gave a real chance of deescalation in eastern Ukraine.
“The absolute majority of political forces in the people’s republics consider the memorandum an important step towards peaceful coexistence with Ukraine,” he said.
At the previous meeting, the sides signed a 12-point protocol on peaceful settlement in the region, with a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners of war being its key provisions.
On September 17, Poroshenko proposed a special self-rule status for the independence-seeking Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the free use of the Russian language there.
The draft law he submitted to the parliament calls for local elections in the region, commonly known as Donbass, on November 9, 2014.
It guarantees the use of the Russian or any other language “in public and private life, the study and support of the Russian or any other language, its free development and equal status”, the newspaper Ukrainska Pravda quoted the draft law as saying.
Kiev will also guarantee that the persons who participated in the fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions would not be prosecuted.