Parties fail to agree on new disengagement areas due to Kiev’s position – Nikonorova

February 26, 2020 23:53

Donetsk, Feb 26 – DAN. Ukrainian representatives at the talks in Minsk derailed the coordination of new disengagement areas as the options they offered contradicted the Framework Agreement requirements, Donetsk People’s Republic representative to the Contact Group, DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova said on Wednesday.

“The process to coordinate three new areas for the disengagement of forces and hardware is being delayed due to the position of Ukraine as it tries to promote its options which do not meet the Framework Agreement requirements and in effect, do not provide for real withdrawal of Ukrainian forces and hardware,” Nikonorova said.

She said that the DPR representatives after the previous meeting (on February 12) “carefully worked through the coordinates of two locations taking into account all proposals, and sent them to the coordinator in advance.”

“Today, we presented our complete arguments regarding the renewed options which meet all the principles envisioned by the Framework Agreement,” the diplomat said.

The framework agreement on disengagement of forces in Donbass was signed in late September 2016. The objective was to disengage the warring sides avoiding the risk of clashes and shelling.  The document set three pilot security areas: Petrovskoye in the DPR and Stanitsa Luganskaya and Zolotoye in the LPR. The parties did not rule out disengagement along the entire contact line in the future.

In Petrovskoye and Zolotoye, the conflicting parties’ units were disengaged back in October 2016. Meanwhile, the DPR and the LPR repeatedly reported an unstable situation in these areas where Ukrainian troops were spotted again.   The disengagement in the three areas had only been completed by the end of 2019.

During the talks of the “Normandy Four” (Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine) leaders on December 9, 2019, a decision was made to disengage the conflicting parties in three more areas.*jk