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MINSK, December 7. /TASS/. The Contact Group seeking to find a solution to the conflict in Ukraine’s east has reached an agreement to settle the crisis over water supplies to the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), Ambassador Martin Sajdik, the OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine, said on Wednesday after the end of the Group’s regular round of talks.
"We have been discussing water supplies in the Lugansk region," he said. "We have agreed that some legal and technical means should be found to solve the issue within a week."
The press secretary of Kiev’s representative at the Minsk peace talks, Darya Olifer, said that the economic subgroup had been entrusted with organizing, in the shortest possible terms, the signing of a protocol, which would unblock the Popasnaya water canal in the Lugansk region.
On December 1, Ukraine stopped water supplies from the water supply facility in Petrovskoye and halved water supplies via a water pipe running from the Western filtering station located in Kiev-controlled territory. Later, the bills for October and November were paid by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). However, the ICRC warned it would stop paying water supplies bills from December 1.
As a result, about 600,000 people living in the Lugansk People’s Republic are running the risk of being left without water. The ICRC has called on the Contact Group to help find solution to the problem with water supplies in the region, for which it is necessary to find a way to pay for electricity used by the water pumping stations supplying water to both sides of the contact line.