MOSCOW, 7 March. /TASS/. Authorities of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) have prepared suggestions Kiev may use to observe part of the Minsk agreements related to exchange of prisoners, the republic's envoy Denis Pushilin said in a statement on Saturday.
In the statement published on the website of the Donetsk news agency, he said: "according to item 6 of the Complex of Measures, the exchange of prisoners of war on the all-for-all basis should be completed latest on the fifth day following withdrawal of heavy weapons, which is before 7 March."
"The Ukrainian party has been keeping behind the bars at least 3,000 people related to events in our territories."
This way, he said, the self-proclaimed republic "is pushed to unilateral fulfilment of this item."
"We are ready to treat with understanding the complicated situation the Ukrainian side is facing in settlement of this problem, and, from our side, we have drafted certain suggestions, using which the Ukrainian side may observe fully items 5 and 6 of the Complex of Measures. Those suggestions should be discussed at working groups in the Contact Group - on organisation of which we continue insisting from the very first days the Complex of Measures was signed," the statement reads.
The official called on all participants and guarantors of the Minsk process to organise a meeting of the Contact Group "in order not to fail the process of settlement and to make constructive the actions on implementation of the Complex of Measures to implement the Minsk agreements."
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE /Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe/, adopted a memorandum on September 19, 2014 in Minsk. The document outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5, 2014. The nine-point memorandum in particular envisioned a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibres of over 100 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.
Marathon talks between the Normandy Four leaders - Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - in Minsk on February 12 yielded a package of agreements, which in particular envisaged ceasefire between the Ukrainian conflicting sides starting from midnight on February 15.
Concurrently, the Belarusian capital hosted a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine involving Ukraine’s ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Kiev’s special representative for humanitarian issues Viktor Medvedchuk, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, and Russia’s ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and OSCE’s envoy Heidi Tagliavini, both acting as mediators.
As a result, a package of measures was adopted to implement the Minsk agreements. The package of measures envisages the pullback of all heavy weapons by both parties to locations equidistant from the disengagement line in order to create a security zone at least 50 kilometres wide for artillery systems with a calibre of 100 mm or more, a zone of security 70 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers and a zone 140 kilometres wide for multiple rocket launchers Tornado-S, Uragan and Smerch and the tactical rocket systems Tochka-U.
The final document says that the Ukrainian troops are to be pulled back away from the current line of engagement and the militias of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, from the engagement line set by the Minsk Memorandum of September 19, 2014.