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Russia calls for active talks on political settlement in Donbass — envoy

A Russian envoy stresses the need to stop the sabotage of agreements

MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. Russia is calling to develop the active talks on political aspects of the settlement in Donbass, Russia’s ambassador to OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, told the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on Thursday.

"It is necessary to develop active talks at the respective working subgroup of the Contact Group on political aspects of the settlement," he said. "The overwhelming political solution suggests implementation of the permanent law on a special status of Donbas, a constitutional reform which fixes that status."

"It is necessary to stop the sabotage of agreements on modality of the local elections and settlement of the issue of amnesty," he continued. "Kiev’s position is that only supporters of the special status of Donbass need the amnesty."

"We call to overcome that delusion, especially those who is responsible for beginning of the punitive operation against people living in Donbass, which some call unreasonably "counterterrorist"."

Besides, he continued, the exchange of prisoners is being protracted.

"Kiev would not release even the injured or sick," the diplomat said.

"The Minsk agreements remain having no alternatives for peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine," he said. "It is to our interests to insist their soonest fulfilment, and not to wait for Kiev to have whatever ripe conditions for that, as they may never appear at all."

US needs to use leverage on Kiev 

The diplomat went on to say the US administration should influence Kiev so that the pro-government forces stop shelling the self-proclaimed Donbass republics.

"The US should use its significant influence on Kiev for the immediate cessation of shellings of Donbass territory," Lukashevich said.

"The forces and hardware of the Kiev troops should be withdrawn to the distance in line with the Minsk agreements. The disengagement of forces at the coordinated areas should be completed," the diplomat stressed.

Lukashevich also said that the Ukrainian forces receive additional payment for taking part in combat actions noting that this does not contribute to establishing peace.

"Another aspect of the problem is that the Ukrainian servicemen have financial interest in violating the ceasefire regime. The forces receive special extra payment for participation in combat actions - when there is shelling on the contact line. Why don’t they do another thing - pay servicemen of those Ukrainian units where the ceasefire regime is observed," he said.

Russia hails OSCE cameras at engagement line

The diplomat said Russia hails installation of video cameras of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission at the dividing of the parties in Donbass from the line of engagement.

"We hail installation of the OSCE SMM cameras in the areas of withdrawal in Petrovksy, Zolotoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya," he said. "We call on the parties to provide free access for observers to the demilitarized regions, to speed up demining of the approaching roads. We condemn the Ukrainian military’s pushing SMM observers from their monitoring point near Zolotoye."

"Similar actions earlier have allowed the Ukrainian Armed Forces to seize the demilitarized Shirokino settlement," he said.

"We have studied closely the special report from the SMM on shelling of guards by the Oktyabr settlement (last time the respected ambassador of the U.S. referred to that report)," the diplomat said. "It turned out, the observers were direct evidences of another shelling by the Ukrainian military of the checkpoint at the line of engagement, where civilians could be injured."