DONETSK, September 8. /TASS/. The government of Ukraine resorts to every possible excuse to justify its own sabotage of the Minsk peace process, the foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Natalya Nikonorova, has said.
The statement was made on Tuesday as a response to Ukrainian deputy prime minister Alexei Reznik, who had earlier accused Moscow of "abandoning the Minsk agreements."
"The Ukrainian authorities make use of literally every piece of news and every possible pretext to justify their own reluctance to comply with the Minsk deal and to deny their own responsibility for the sabotage of the peace talks," Nikonorova said.
She went on to say that this was the case with the Russian government’s decision not to extend the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers deployed at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
"Mr. Reznikov, who rushed to interpret this decision as ‘Russia’s move to abandon the Minsk agreements,’ failed to take two important aspects into account," the foreign minister continued.
First of all, the issue of granting OSCE observers access to border crossings on the Russian side is a domestic policy matter and has no relation to the Minsk process and Minsk agreements whatsoever, Nikonorova said, adding that observers deployed at these two checkpoints have no relation to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in Ukraine. Secondly, she reiterated that in line with the Minsk agreements, Russia is not a party to the conflict between the Kiev government and the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR).
"That is why we once again advise Kiev to refrain from empty and baseless accusations, whose only purpose is to conceal [Kiev’s] own reluctance to comply with agreements reached in Minsk. Those attempts will never succeed, and will further aggravate tensions and the deadlock in the process of negotiations," the DPR foreign minister said.
Russia’s envoy to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich told a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on September 2 that Russia sees no reasons to extend the group’s mandate beyond its expiration date on September 30, 2021.