DONETSK, February 17. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s new initiative on joint patrols of the border with Russia are an attempt to waste time talking instead of enacting the Minsk Agreements, Head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said in a statement on Monday.
"These statements by Zelensky reveal the infamous methods practiced by today’s Ukrainian politicians: getting bogged down in empty talk and dragging others into this swamp," the Donetsk news agency quoted the DPR head as saying. "Let’s take a look at the ‘joint patrols’ proposal, for example. Kiev has not yet taken a single step to coordinate the legal aspects of a special status for Donbass with the DPR and LPR [Lugansk People’s Republic]," he went on to say.
"Under the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, early local elections is a political process that is part of a full and comprehensive political settlement," he added.
"Ukraine should stop being evasive and come into compliance with the commitments it assumed for a peaceful settlement to the conflict, in other words to implement step-by-step all the provisions of the Minsk accords," Pushilin stressed.
At a news conference in Munich on Saturday, President Zelensky suggested looking into the possibility of organizing joint patrols along the border with Russia with representatives from the OSCE, as well as the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. According to him, these patrols could be carried out during the preparations for and in the process of local elections in the region.
The Minsk Agreements are a cornerstone of the Donbass settlement. The deal includes such measures as a ceasefire, disengagement of forces and equipment, amnesty, the re-establishment of economic ties, along with thorough constitutional reform in Ukraine, which should lead to a special status for separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions within Ukraine.
However, this plan has not been implemented so far due to Kiev’s refusal to comply with the political provisions of the agreements. Ukraine, in particular, insists on taking control over a section of the border with Russia, although the Minsk accords state that this can only happen after new elections in Donbass.