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UN assessment mission on Donbass arrives in Ukraine

January 24, 0:17 UTC+3 KIEV
In the coming two weeks, the mission’s members will be holding meetings with Ukraine’s leadership and are also expected to make a visit to the country’s eastern regions
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KIEV, January 23. /TASS/. The UN Assessment Mission on Donbass arrived in Ukraine on Saturday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s press service has said.

In the coming two weeks, the mission’s members will be holding meetings with Ukraine’s leadership and are also expected to make a visit to the country’s eastern regions in order to assess Donbass’s demands, in particular in the sphere of humanitarian demining.

The mission featuring officials of the United Nations Development Programme, children’s fund (Unicef) and UN Mine Action Service are due to assess security and safety during their trip to Donbass and estimate the amount of required actions needed to clear mines from its territory.

On January 4, 2016, Ukrainian ambassador to the UN, Vladimir Yelchenko came up with an initiative to invite permanent representatives (ambassadors) of the UN Security Council member-nations to Donbass so as to convince them of the importance of unfolding a peacekeeping mission in the region. Yelchenko said that cooperation could also promote through a UN office in Ukraine to be opened for supporting the implementation of the Minsk deal, and which "will be in charge of coordination of projects on humanitarian demining in Ukraine’s east."

On the face of it, officials in the self-proclaimed unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic said the initiative ran counter to the Minsk accords signed in September 2014 and February 2015.

"I'd like to remind of the existence of the Complex of Measures for Implementing the Minsk Accords that was signed on February 12, 2015," the republic's plenipotentiary representative at the Minsk talks for peace settlement in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin said. "Paragraph 3 of the document vests the powers to control and verify the process in the SMM of the OSCE. It doesn't envision (the presence of) representatives of the UN or any other peacekeeping organizations there.

Minsk accords

The Minsk agreements, which were signed by the Contact Group resolving the Ukraine conflict and earlier approved by the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in the Belarussian capital on February 12, 2015, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian forces and people’s militias starting from February 15. The 13-point package of measures adopted in Minsk contains withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line disengaging the Kiev troops and militias of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as measures on long-term political settlement in Donbass.

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