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Russia's OSCE envoy calls on Kiev to adhere to agreements with Donbass republics

Russia's OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said that "the introduction of unilateral demands points to a desire to make the disengagement of forces political"
Russia's OSCE Envoy Alexander Lukashevich Sergei Fadeichev/TASS
Russia's OSCE Envoy Alexander Lukashevich
© Sergei Fadeichev/TASS

VIENNA, November 7. /TASS/. The Ukrainian government must responsibly adhere to the agreements with the Donbass republics in the Contact Group, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

"I call on Kiev to exercise responsibility when adhering to the agreements reached in the Contact Group with Donetsk and Lugansk. The introduction of unilateral demands points to a desire to make the disengagement of forces political, instead of a desire to achieve swift and real de-escalation," Lukashevich said at the session of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

The Russian envoy mentioned the situation in Petrovskoye as an example. "We stress the need to adhere to the procedures stipulated by the timetable approved within the Contact Group. These agreements include nothing about a seven-day ceasefire at this point," Lukashevich said.

Earlier on Thursday, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Rrepublic (DPR) mission to the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) Ruslan Yakubov informed that the DPR militia is ready to restart the disengagement process in Petrovskoye on November 9, if all envoys to the Contact Group agree to it during a video conference on November 8. Later, the video conference was cancelled.

Head of the Ukrainian General Staff Ruslan Khomchak said during a briefing on Thursday that the Ukrainian side is ready to begin the disengagement of forces in Petrovskoye at 1pm Moscow time on November 8. However, the DPR informed later that the Ukrainian Armed Forces had shelled the area of Petrovskoye with small arms.

Disengagement of forces in Donbass

Representatives of Ukraine, the Donbass republics, Russia and OSCE signed a framework agreement on the disengagement of forces in three areas of Donbass in September 2016. The document sets up security zones near the Zolotoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya settlements in the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic (LPR), as well as near the Petrovskoye settlement in DPR. The disengagement of forces was completed in the Zolotoye and Petrovskoye zones in October 2016 but Ukrainian troops later returned to their positions in those areas.

The parties resumed efforts to implement the 2016 agreement after the 2019 presidential election in Ukraine.

On October 29, the Contact Group set a date for the disengagement of troops in Petrovskoye but did not announce it. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said later that the process was supposed to begin on November 4 but Ukraine later refused to disengage troops, citing the need for a seven-day ceasefire. The DPR requested an emergency session of the Contact Group to set a new date for disengagement, with the OSCE willing to coordinate the meeting via a video link on November 8.