MOSCOW, April 9./TASS/. Moscow is furnishing all sorts of assistance to accommodate the positions of the parties to the conflict in Donbass, and anticipates that they will manage to find mutually acceptable solutions to coordinating new disengagement sections, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told TASS on Thursday.
"As we know, the Normandy summit in Paris set a concrete timeframe for determining the new sections and enacting the disengagement of forces and equipment — until the end of March. Regretfully, not only has the disengagement failed now, but even the coordinates of the sections have not yet been determined," Rudenko said.
"We are giving all sorts of assistance to bring the positions of the parties closer and [we] expect that they will manage to arrive at mutually acceptable options," he stressed.
The senior diplomat also drew attention to the fact that disengagement at the three previous sections in Zolotoye, Petrovskoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya has not yet been completed. "Work on mine clearing and dismantling fortifications has not been finished there, and the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has not verified the disengagement as of yet," he added.
Following a round of talks on March 26, Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine, Boris Gryzlov, said that acting in tacit agreement with a representative from the OSCE, Kiev derailed work to coordinate new disengagement sections in Donbass and refused to take additional measures towards a ceasefire.
Kiev’s refusal to create advisory council on Donbass
Kiev’s refusal to create an advisory council on resolving the situation in Donbass is puzzling and regrettable, the Russian diplomat said in an interview with TASS.
"Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk were expected to agree steps to create such a council by the March 26 meeting of the Contact Group," he pointed out. "Unfortunately, they failed to make a decision on March 26 as well as at the group’s meeting on April 8. For reasons unclear to us, Ukrainian negotiators backtracked," Rudenko noted, adding: "It causes nothing but surprise and regret."
The Russian deputy foreign minister went on to say that the idea of creating an advisory council had seemed reasonable as it was a compromise. He said that according to the Minsk Agreements, Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk were supposed to work together on all political and legal aspects of their future coexistence within a single state.
"Since Kiev uses every opportunity to avoid communicating with Donetsk and Lugansk — though in fact, communication has been going on within the Contact Group for five years — an idea emerged to provide the civil society instead of the authorities with an opportunity to make agreements on the special status of Donbass," Rudenko stressed. "Such an option was discussed in Minsk," he added.
The March 11 meeting of the Contact Group, which involved Deputy Chief of Staff the Russian Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak and Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian Presidential Executive Office Andrei Yermak, agreed to create an advisory council within the Group’s political subgroup. Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR, LPR) were supposed each to have ten representatives in the body, while the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Russia, Germany and France were expected to have one representative each.