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Ukrainian officers to resume work in Joint Center for Control and Coordination in Donbass

February 19, 12:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to a source, three Ukrainian servicemen are expected to arrive in Donetsk to take part in the work of the coordination group
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© AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Ukrainian officers will resume working in the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) on the territory of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), an informed source told Donetsk News Agency on Friday.

"Ukrainian military will again join the ranks of JCCC in Donetsk," the source said.

He added that three Ukrainian servicemen are expected to arrive in Donetsk to take part in the work of JCCC coordination group.

The source reminded that previously 18 Ukrainian representatives worked on DPR territory as part of JCCC. In January they were all recalled by their commanders.

DPR defense ministry said earlier that after Ukrainian observers were withdrawn, Kiev forces intensified shellings of the territory of the self-proclaimed Donbass republic.

Kiev building up its military capability, playing for time

Meanwhile, Russia’s OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich noted that te official Kiev isn't hiding that its strategy in resolving the conflict in Donbass is to play for time and increase Kiev’s military capability. 

"Kiev has spent a year after signing the Package of Measures (Minsk deal) to build up the army combat potential. Major fresh forces equipped with new weapons have been deployed to the contact line. Foreign instructors and mercenaries have been involved," Lukashevich told a meeting of the OSCE permanent council in Vienna on Thursday.

The diplomat warned that "the danger of returning to the military solution to the crisis has significantly grown." "It seems that foreign partners do not only wish not to notice this but sometimes are lenient to such dangerous steps," Lukashevich said.

Kiev’s authorities directly state that it is not necessary for the Ukrainian side to implement the Minsk peace agreements signed in the Belarusian capital in February last year after approval of the Normandy Four group (Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France), he said.

Ukraine’s presidential advisor Vladimir Gorbulin, who takes part in the negotiating process as part of the Contact Group, recently told the Zerkalo Nedeli newspaper: "The main and the only strategy of the Ukrainian state is to win time and accumulate forces."

The Ukrainian politician also insisted that the decisions in Minsk were the result of pressure and external factors and therefore their implementation was only a good will of the Ukrainian side.

Russia’s OSCE envoy said Ukraine’s members of the Contact Group made similar statements instead of advancing the Package of Measures approved by President Petro Poroshenko.

Kiev agrees to hold prisoner exchange with LPR on "4 for 8" basis

Ukrainian authorities have agreed to exchange prisoners with the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) on the "four for eight" basis, LPR’s envoy to the Contact Group’s humanitarian sub-group Olga Kobtseva said on Friday.

"The exchange has been coordinated but the date has not been set yet. The swap will be on ‘four for eight’ basis just like we proposed," Lugansk Inform Center quoted Kobtseva as saying.

Kobtseva noted that the prisoner exchange planned for February 20 between Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is not connected with LPR’s agreements. "They (DPR) will hold (prisoner) exchange on Saturday, we will not have an exchange on Saturday," she said.

LPR earlier proposed to Kiev to hold prisoner swap on a "four for eight" basis. At the start of January LPR head said that Kiev disrupted the prisoner exchange.

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