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Contact Group suggests creating 10 security zones in Donbass, strengthening OSCE mission

Durable peace in Donbass can be established only if the solution of security problems goes in parallel with the implementation of the Minsk agreements

MINSK, July 13 /TASS/. The Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine is considering a possibility of creating up to 10 security zones on the line of contact in Donbass, Boris Gryzlov, the Russian representative in the Contact Group, said after the group’s regular meeting in Minsk, Belarus.

He told journalists that the Contact Group had focused on security issues. "The steps, which were discussed on Wednesday, included the disengagement of the military units of the sides in conflict on some sections of the line of contact with an aim to reduce the number of incidents involving the use of arms," Gryzlov said.

"Another seven zones could be added to the existing three soon. I would like to emphasize that they include territories adjacent to the checkpoints, which is extremely important for civilian security. The Contact Group is discussing whether all the checkpoints on the line of contact should become security zones.

"For more effective control, it is necessary to strengthen the OSCE mission in the vicinity of the contact line," the Russian representative stressed.

Gryzlov also said that durable peace in Donbass could be established only if the solution of security problems went parallel to the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

"The first thing the Ukrainian parliament should do is to adopt a law on the special status of the territories in question. The text of the law will apparently require preliminary approval by the "Normandy four" group and the Contact Group. After that, the law can be expected to become the basis for settling the conflict," Gryzlov stressed.

DPR insists on adopting document on disengaging sides in Donbass

The self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) insists on soonest adoption of the document on disengaging sides of the conflict in Donbass, press secretary of DPR’s envoy to the Contact Group Viktoria Talakina wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday.

"Shellings of Gorlovka, Zaytsevo, Sakhanka and outskirts of Donetsk, dozens of damaged residential houses, injured civilians became the main topic at the meeting. (DPR’s envoy) Denis Pushilin insisted on the necessity of soonest coordination of the document on disengaging the sides which is being developed by the security subgroup," Talakina wroteб

She added that Kiev forces occupy more and more "grey zones," provoke militiamen, which is "the main reason the situation is deteriorating along the contact line." "The document obliging the sides to withdraw forces and observe the buffer distance, will deescalate tensions and considerably reduce the number of shellings," she noted.

The Minsk Accords form the foundation for settling the Donbass conflict. Apart from suggesting a ceasefire, weapons withdrawal, amnesty and the resumption of economic ties, they stress the need of a deep constitutional reform in Ukraine aimed at de-centralization of power and the granting of special status to the separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However, the plan has remained unrealized until recently because of systematic violations of the silence regime. The Ukrainian side has refused to implement the amnesty clause and continues its economic blockade of Donbass. None of the points linked to a political settlement has been implemented: no constitutional reform has been carried out; the law on the region’s special status has not taken effect and no law on elections in Donbass has been passed.

Instead, the Ukrainian side continues insisting, justifying it by security needs, on the restoration of control over the section of its border with Russia - something, which is supposed to happen only after the elections in accordance with the Minsk Accords.