Ukraine refuses direct interaction with DPR and LPR in the coordination mechanism | Donbass Insider
Following the death of a civilian in Donetsk as a result of Ukrainian army shelling, the DPR and LPR (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics) had requested an urgent meeting of the contact group to discuss with Ukraine the coordination mechanism provided for in the additional ceasefire monitoring measures. Unsurprisingly, Ukraine refuses any direct interaction with the DPR and LPR within the coordination mechanism, effectively sabotaging any concrete implementation of the latter, while the accumulation of heavy weapons and shelling by the Ukrainian army against residential areas continues.
After the third civilian killed by the Ukrainian army in a month, the DPR and LPR have called for an extraordinary meeting of the contact group in charge of security issues to clarify the modalities of the coordination mechanism, a vital step to restore the full and indefinite ceasefire, which Ukraine has been sabotaging for months.
The extraordinary meeting of the contact group finally took place on April 20, 2021, and only confirmed that Ukraine has no desire to actually implement the Minsk Agreements or the additional ceasefire monitoring measures.
The DPR, LPR and Ukraine each submitted a proposal for an addendum on how the coordination mechanism should work in order to be truly effective in reducing ceasefire violations.
During the meeting, the DPR representative in the contact group expressed his conviction that only direct cooperation of the two sides in the conflict at the level of the JCCC (Joint Ceasefire Control and Coordination Center) could change the situation and prevent further escalation.
But Ukraine, which already refuses to negotiate directly with the DPR and LPR, has of course refused to have to discuss with the two republics within the JCCC to implement the coordination mechanism. Kiev has thus insisted heavily on involving the OSCE as an intermediary in the coordination mechanism, even though the OSCE mission chief refuses to play this role, which is not part of his mandate.
“Instead of taking concrete steps and responsibility for the safety of the civilian population, the Ukrainian side has taken the path of denial: it has rejected the proposal of the republics to interact at the level of the JCCC in its current composition by all available means, including meetings and video conferences, to verify and eliminate violations.
Instead, Kiev is stubbornly trying to impose verification tasks on the OSCE SMM (Special Monitoring Mission) despite the objections of the SMM chief. It has come to the point where Kiev is literally dictating its conditions for the participation of the OSCE SMM in the co-ordination mechanism, despite the fact that the co-ordinator has once again stressed that, according to its mandate, only the 57 participating States can give instructions to the Mission,” said Aleksey Nikonorov, the DPR representative in the contact group.
In order to make at least some progress, the DPR decided to take the Ukrainian proposal as a basis and to incorporate the proposals that the two People’s Republics had sent in on their side. Setting aside procedural issues for the moment, the People’s Republics managed to get the draft addendum adopted at first reading.
But no agreement was reached on the fundamental points. Almost all the points of the draft, aimed at practical cooperation for real verification and prevention of cease-fire violations by the JCCC, have been put in brackets.
A new meeting of the contact group is scheduled for 28 April to discuss the document further and to reach agreement on the really important part, namely the details of the coordination mechanism procedure. Unfortunately, given Ukraine’s chronic refusal to discuss or interact with the DPR and LPR, and its repeated attempts to involve Russia (as when Zelensky pathetically asks to meet Vladimir Putin in the Donbass), it is feared that the next meeting will not result in any real progress on the coordination mechanism.
A mechanism whose necessity is more obvious with each passing day, as the Ukrainian army continues to shell residential areas of the DPR and LPR, and reports from the War Gonzo channel indicate that eight Tochka-U missile launchers have been brought by Ukraine near Roubezhnoye and Lisichansk, along with ammunition and support vehicles. As War Gonzo pointed out, while these missile systems have been observed in the Donbass before, (and used by the Ukrainian army to bombard the region, among other things in 2014), they have never been in such large numbers. Their presence is therefore a very bad sign, which does not augur well for an upcoming de-escalation.