War and Minsk: Why is there no progress in peace talks?

Author : Ihor Rymskyi

Source : 112 Ukraine

The Russian side insists that ATO forces should be withdrawn at 50 km from the contact line, and operation itself should be terminated
14:09, 17 August 2016

Tripartite Meeting of the contact group in Minsk did not bring the end to the conflict in Donbas. A spokesman for second President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma Darka Olifer on the results of recurrent meeting of the group states that the work on the release of hostages comes with great difficulty. As of ceasefire issue and of the control over the entire section of the Russian-Ukrainian border in Donbas formally and in fact there is no progress.

Trilateral contact group before the next meeting in Minsk again has nothing special to brag about. However, it should be recognized that the previous agreements were not implemented in full. Despite the fact that the parties in September 2015 agreed on the withdrawal of all heavy weapons and tanks, artillery and mortars of caliber more than 100 mm are operating along the front line.

Against this background, the question of the release and exchange of prisoners is blocked. A regular meeting of the contact group in Minsk also ended virtually without any result. The negotiators have not moved neither in issue of border control, nor regarding the status of certain regions of Donbas. The press-secretary of the representative of Ukraine in the contact group Leonid Kuchma Darka Olifer wrote on her page in the social network - Ukrainian side once again noted the need to resolve the issue of control over the borders and drew attention to "the implementation of the first paragraph of the Minsk agreement (ceasefire) ".

Russian occupation forces continue to violate the Minsk agreements, 54 attacks reported

According to sources in the Ukrainian delegation, there is no progress in the negotiations, in particular because of the impracticability of the proposals of the Russian side, which are supported by representatives of the "LPR" and "DPR" during the last meeting of the group. "The Russian side insists that ATO forces should be withdrawn at 50 km from the contact line, and operation itself should be terminated. In addition, Russia considers that the special status should be provided not only to individual districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions but to the whole Donbas. Only after that Russian Federation will withdraw the troops.” – said the source.

There are difficulties with the process of exchange of prisoners. According to sources familiar with the negotiations, "LPR" and "DPR" handed over to the Ukrainian side a list of people they offer to exchange, but the parties were unable to agree on the conditions (in particular, due to the fact that the militants are demanding the release of several times more of their prisoners, than ATO fighters). Some people from the list provided by the media are generally not found.

Steinmeier is for gradual lifting of sanctions against Russia, if there is progress on Minsk Agreements

"The main positive of negotiation in Minsk is that the parties continue to meet and negotiate. In the coming months a major breakthrough in Minsk is improbable ", - added the sources.

Meanwhile, according to the press-center ATO headquarters every day the ATO forces are exposed to tens of shelling. At the same time informally, according to representatives of Armed Forces of Ukraine, ATO forces became significantly more actively respond to the attacks of the enemy.

At the same time in the Verkhovna Rada MPs expect "good news" from the front to the Independence Day. As stated one of the deputies of the "Block of Petro Poroshenko," close to the head of state, "we will gradually release the Donbas, without violating the Minsk agreement."

Related: RFE\RL: Russia uses selective approach to Minsk agreements, - Ukrainian diplomat

Related: Minsk Group do not discuss election laws - Iryna Gerashchenko

Related: OSCE: Both sides in Donbas conflict keep Minsk-banned weaponry near division line

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