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Ukraine’s Zelensky plans disengagement of forces along entire contact line

Ukraine's foreign ministry points out that Zelensky’s plan envisages that a strong economy,a consolidated state, a strong army should be built, but calls against a military solution to the conflict

KIEV, September 18. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has suggested in his Donbass plan that the sides should disengage forces along the entire contact line, Foreign Minister Vadim Pristayko said on Wednesday at a meeting of Verkhovna Rada’s (parliament) Foreign Affairs and European Integration Committee.

"In his plan, President Zelensky proposes not to disengage [forces] along the scheduled sections, as we will be disengaging them for the next 300 years, but to disengage along the entire contact line," he said.

Apart from that, the Ukrainian foreign minister pointed out that Zelensky’s plan envisages that a strong economy, a consolidated state and a strong army should be built, but calls against a military solution to the conflict.

"Our objective is to prevent bloodshed," the minister summed up. "It is a shortlist plan by Zelensky."

Earlier in the day, Vladimir Kravchenko, the commander of so-called the Allied Forces Operation in Donbass, said that Kiev was making preparations for the troops’ pullout from the entire contact line in the country’s east. He reminded of the situation near Stanitsa Luganskaya where the disengagement had already taken place and that under the 2016 agreement, this was planned to be done in two other locations, Zolotoye and Petrovskoye. According to Kravchenko, Chief of Ukraine’s General Staff, the defense minister and president, had set the task, while its implementation "will depend on reciprocal actions from the opposite side."

A framework agreement on disengagement of forces in Donbass was signed by Ukraine, Russia, the OSCE and the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk in September 2016. Under the agreement, security zones are to be created at three sections of the line of contact, namely near Petrovskoye (in the Donetsk People’s Republic, or DPR), Zolotoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya (both in the Lugansk People’s Republic, or LPR). The agreement envisages withdrawal of armed forces from the line of contact to create security zones at least one kilometer wide and one kilometer deep.

The disengagement process was completed near Zolotoye and Petrovskoye in October 2016. Efforts to disengage forces near Stanitsa Luganskaya kept on failing under Ukraine’s former President Pyotr Poroshenko. Moreover, Ukrainian troops returned their former positions in Petrovskoye and Zolotoye. The sides got back to the implementation of the 2016 agreement only after the presidential elections in Ukraine when Kiev formed a new delegation to the Contact Group. In late June 2019, the parties finally disengaged forces near Stanitsa Luganskaya.