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Contact Group on Ukraine to discuss disengagement of forces in Donbass

July 27, 2016, 9:20 UTC+3 MINSK

The parties will continue to work on the document they could not agree during previous meeting on July 13

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MINSK, July 27. /TASS/. The Contact Group on the settlement in eastern Ukraine will discuss on Wednesday the security issues in the Donbass region.

The parties will continue to work on the document on the disengagement of the armed forces from the line of contact they could not agree during the Contact Group meeting in Minsk on July 13.

The meeting continued the next day in the video conference format, but the participants failed to make progress on the issue. Envoy of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Vladislav Deynego said after the meeting that the document on the parties’ disengagement requires a clarified wording.

Disengagement of parties

Members of the Contact Group reached an agreement on the disengagement of forces in Petrovskoye and Zolotoye populated localities on June 29. Units of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics (LPR, LPR) on the one hand and the Ukrainian armed forces on the other were to be withdrawn to a distance of 2-3 kilometers from the contact line depending on the terrain. Martin Sajdik, special representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office, earlier said that agreements were also to reached on the parties' disengagement in Stanitsa Luganskaya settlement.

Deputy head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine Alexander Hug told TASS at that time that the sides are at the final stages of discussing this issue.

For his part, Russian envoy to the Contact Group Boris Gryzlov noted that the disengagement of the armed units in a number of areas along the contact line will make it possible to reduce the number of incidents with the use of weapons, adding that the possibility of creating up to ten such safety zones is considered.

"This includes the areas adjacent to checkpoints, which is very important for the safety of the civilian population," he said. "In view of this, the Contact Group is discussing the issue of making all the checkpoints along the line of demarcation a safety zone." According to Gryzlov, "to ensure more effective monitoring it is also necessary to reinforce the OSCE mission in the demarcation line area."

Compromise possible

Envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) at the talks in Minsk Denis Pushilin said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting that a compromise in the disengagement of forces in Donbass is possible.

"There are at least two contradictory moments. If a compromise is found, the signing is quite possible," he said.

Pushilin recalled that during the conflict in Donbass the demarcation line changed in various areas. "We withdrew (weapons) from two lines. The Ukrainian side withdrew weaponry from ‘the September 19 line’ (agreed at a meeting in Minsk on September 19, 2014 - TASS), while we withdrew our weapons from the actual line of contact," he said.

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