Donetsk, Apr 29 - DAN. Ukrainian representatives’ reluctance to have direct talks with the Donbass Republics is behind Kiev’s refusal to coordinate the verification mechanism for ceasefire violations, which could help decrease tensions on the contact line, the press service of the Donetsk People’s Republic delegation at the peace talks said.

On Wednesday, DPR representative Natalia Nikonorova said that the Contact Group had failed to make progress in finalising the coordinating mechanism.

“For several hours, Ukrainian representatives were asked a simple question about the reason behind their studious avoidance of reference to both Ukraine and the Republics in the text of the statement on launching the direct interaction mechanism to prevent ceasefire violations,” the press service said. “The only answer given by Ukraine was the statement by the Ukrainian representative who said that the omission of “Donetsk” and “Lugansk” in the text as subjects of interaction was a matter of “principle” to Kiev.”

On  July 22, 2020, the Contact Group finalised and signed a package of ceasefire control measures. The document bans the use of all weapons, deployment of hardware, special operations, engineer works and unmanned aerial vehicles flights etc. The Additional Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire provide for a coordination mechanism for identifying and punishing ceasefire violators that has to be designed and applied at the level of the JCCC in the current membership. However, Ukraine has been blocking the implementation of this norm since the autumn of 2020.*jk