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Kiev undermines opportunities for improvements in Donbass — Russian negotiator

According to the Russian envoy, the situation has been particularly difficult in the Contact Group’s political and security subgroups

MOSCOW, April 23. /TASS/. A yet another session of the Contact Group on eastern Ukrainian settlement, held in the video conference format on Wednesday, produced no result, Russia’s envoy to the talks, Boris Gryzlov, said after the meeting.

"Kiev and Donbass held a swap last week, mutually releasing detained persons. 14 people managed to return to Donetsk and Lugansk, 20 - to Kiev-controlled territory," he said. "The mutual release might have taken place a lot earlier. If necessary lessons are learned, further agreements between Kiev and Donbass might be achieved and implemented quicker. However, this did not happen today due to Kiev’s non-constructive attitude."

According to the Russian envoy, the situation has been particularly difficult in the Contact Group’s political and security subgroups.

"Even on the day of the swap, on the day of the release of detainees, new shelling by the armed forces of Ukraine has been registered," he continued. "Earlier, there used to be days of silence along the contact line separating Kiev- and Donbass-controlled territories, now ceasefire violations are registered on a daily basis. In fact, the Kiev side undermines a real opportunity to improve the situation in the region."

"Speaking about the agenda of today’s video conference, its level of implementation was extremely low," the Russian negotiator added. "The Kiev side did not submit draft political documents, which it was supposed to prepare and put forward, to the Contact Group, for mutual approval with Donbass. Kiev even refuses to submit a list of issues for settling the political conflict, and its views regarding their approval. This looks strange against the background of Kiev’s constant public statements about its commitment to the peace process."

"Due to the Kiev’s delegation stance, there have been no solution to security issues, new areas for disengagement of personnel and equipment remain undetermined. For same reasons, measures to restore social and economic ties of Kiev and Donbass remain to be agreed upon," Gryzlov said.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has expressed confidence that the eastern Ukrainian conflict will be resolved before his presidential term expires. At the same time, he said he was ready to abandon the format of talks now under way within the framework of the Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation of they fail to produce the intended result.