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Russian envoy perplexed by OSCE representative’s initiative on Donbass

The Minsk Package of Measures clearly says that there are two parties to the conflict, the envoy recalled

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Representative Martin Sajdik’s interview with an Austrian newspaper, in which he tried to shift responsibility for resolving Ukraine’s domestic crisis to the United Nations, is surprising, Russian Representative to the Contact Group on resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine Boris Gryzlov told TASS on Tuesday.

In the interview, published last week, Sajdik said there was a plan that could help resolve the Donbass crisis, replacing the Minsk Agreements. The plan allegedly implies involving the United Nations in the process through deploying a police mission to Ukraine and creating a EU-sponsored agency on the region’s reconstruction.

"Martin Sajdik’s position is somewhat surprising. We would hate to think that the OSCE special representative is acknowledging his failure and reluctance to accomplish the tasks set before the Contact Group - the tasks that we have been dealing with for a long time, even managing to achieve some results despite all difficulties and Ukraine’s overt opposition," the Russian envoy said.

Gryzlov pointed out that like the OSCE, Russia is also a mediator in resolving the domestic political conflict in Ukraine. "The conflict that the Contact Group is designed to resolve is an internal conflict in Ukraine. The Minsk Package of Measures clearly says that there are two parties to the conflict: Ukraine’s central government and certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions," he noted.

"Since the leaders of the Normandy Quartet countries [Russia, Ukraine, German and France] have officially supported the Minsk Agreements, which are also enshrined in a United Nations Security Council resolution, there is no other politically weighty document," the Russian representative went on to say. "Russia’s position has been consistent, we believe that the path to peace in Donbass is through faithfully implementing the Minsk Agreements, but the current Ukrainian authorities are reluctant to do that," he stressed. Gryzlov also said that the problem did not lie in the quality of the Minsk Agreements "but in the fact that the current Ukrainian authorities have been taking advantage of the conflict in Donbass to achieve their political ambitions and financial benefits at the Ukrainian people’s expense," he concluded.