LUGANSK, July 7. /TASS/. Ukraine directly refused to comply with agreements it had signed earlier, by saying that working on the coordination mechanism to ensure ceasefire control in Donbass makes no sense, a spokesperson for the delegation of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) to the Contact Group, Maria Kovshar, said on Tuesday.
"Ukraine announced that working on the coordination mechanism was senseless. A representative of the Kiev government said the coordination mechanism, based on direct interaction between Ukraine and the republics in the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JSCC), makes no sense. But exactly this kind of mechanism is envisaged and sealed by measures to enhance the ceasefire. Therefore, Ukraine clearly said it had no intention to fulfill the signed agreements and engage in a direct dialogue with Donbass," reads a statement, posted on the LPR delegation’s Telegram channel after a meeting of the Contact Group’s security subgroup.
At the same time, the Kiev government’s forces continue to shell the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR), causing deaths and destruction. For example, Ukrainian troops regularly shell the village of Zolotoye-5, where a planned crossing of the line of contact is to be opened.
"The session demonstrated once again that Ukraine is not interested in real conflict settlement and aims to continue shelling Donbass and terrorizing its residents," Kovshar said.
DPR and LPR delegates have repeatedly stressed that the coordination mechanism must be established in full compliance with the additional ceasefire control measures. It envisages direct, prompt and regular contacts between the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed republics in case of any gunfire. Besides, as part of the mechanism, the sides undertook the obligation to verify every violation, investigate every reported incident and prevent new ceasefire breaches.
The Contact Group’s subgroups on political, humanitarian and economic issues also held online conferences on Tuesday. The Contact Group itself will convene via a video linkup on Wednesday, July 7.
The Contact Group on settling the situation in eastern Ukraine has introduced additional measures since July 27, 2020 to control the ceasefire in Donbass.
Under the agreement, the Donbass conflicting parties are banned from carrying out offensive, reconnaissance and subversive operations, using any types of aircraft, opening fire and deploying heavy weapons in populated localities. One of the key provisions is the use of disciplinary measures for ceasefire violations. Furthermore, the retaliatory fire in the case of an offensive is allowed only after the commander's direct order.
Tensions in Donbass surged at the end of February, as exchanges of gunfire involving mortars and grenade launchers were registered daily despite the agreement on additional measures to secure a ceasefire dated July 22, 2020.
Serious gun battles have resumed on the line of contact, with both sides reporting casualties and wounded. Ukraine accused the Donbass republics of this de-escalation. In turn, the self-proclaimed republics stated that the reason for this flare-up was Kiev’s non-adherence to the July agreements.
Dmitry Kozak, deputy chief of the Russian presidential staff, told reporters in April that the agreements signed on July 22, 2020 approved additional ceasefire measures, with its key element being cooperation between the parties to the conflict in the Joint Center for Ceasefire Control and Coordination (JCCC).
According to Kozak, representatives of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Donbass militia were expected to interact directly to promptly respond to ceasefire violations, verify them and effectively prevent escalation of fire. Kozak pointed out that Ukraine had signed these agreements but was doing everything possible to avoid their practical implementation.