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26 February 2020, 19:35

Additional sites for separating forces in Ukraine's Donbass ‘need more work'

Heidi Grau. An archive photo
Heidi Grau. An archive photo

MINSK, 26 February (BelTA) – The matter of additional sites for separating forces and assets in the Donbass area requires more work, BelTA learned from the OSCE special representative in the trilateral contact group on resolving the situation in Ukraine's east Heidi Grau.

The diplomat noted that the selection of additional sites for separating forces and assets had been in the center of attention of the subgroup on security in addition to the overall situation in the conflict zone. “The sides dedicated a lot of time and effort to the matter. However, it still needs more polish,” she noted.

Apart from that, the matter of mine clearance efforts was raised. Heidi Grau stated that mines remain the key reason for civilian casualties. Eight people have been killed by mines so far this year.

The diplomat reminded that ceasing fire is the key provision of the Minsk agreements. This is why events of the last few days cannot but be disturbing. A surge of ceasefire violations was registered in Lugansk Oblast last week, including with weapons forbidden by the Minsk agreements. “Civilians once again paid a high price. It is unacceptable,” the OSCE special representative stressed. She once again implored the sides to stay dedicated to genuine ceasefire.

Heidi Grau also talked about the work of the other subgroups of the trilateral contact group. Thus, the subgroup on humanitarian affairs discussed matters concerning the exchange of captives and ways to enable effective search for missing persons. The subgroup discussed the possibility of opening new checkpoints at the contact line.

The subgroup on economic affairs paid attention to the payment of pensions and matters of water supply in certain areas of Donetsk Oblast and Lugansk Oblast. The subgroup on political affairs discussed matters relating to the special status of these areas as well as to the implementation of the Steinmeier formula into the Ukrainian legislation.

The trilateral contact group will reconvene on 11 March.

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