Negotiations of the Trilateral Contact Group on settlement of the conflict in Donbas have reached a stalemate, as Russia demands that Ukraine start a so-called direct dialogue with the occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk. This was stated by the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organizations in Vienna Yevhen Tsymbalyuk at the 1323rd meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on July 8, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry press service reports.
It was stated that the reports confirm the current impasse in the Trilateral Contact Group consultations and deteriorating security stance on the ground. "The combination of these factors stems from Russia’s principled reluctance to admit its responsibility as a party to the conflict. This remains the main obstacle to reaching peace."
"Russia not only rattles its sabres, but also prevents any meaningful progress in the TCG, linking it to fulfillment of Russia’s blackmailing demands, such as so-called “direct dialogue” with its occupation administrations in Donetsk and Luhansk. The information, provided today by Special Representative Heidi Grau on the consultations in the TCG and its Working Groups, speaks for itself. The last meeting of the TCG, held this week, was again unsuccessful due to Russia’s requests to send any proposals or information directly to its occupation administrations," the message reads.
According to Tsymbalyuk, when Russia blocks additional disengagement areas, it provokes its illegal armed formations to fire at Ukrainian military positions and residential areas. On 4 and 5 July alone, they left 2 Ukrainian servicemen dead and 4 wounded.
"When it blocks a decision on 19 demining zones, despite clear agreement reached in the Working Group on Security Issues, it causes additional civilian casualties due to mines and UXOs, which, according to the SMM data, became the main source of such casualties in 2021."
"We reiterate our condemnation of Russia’s tactics in the TCG. Using civilians as hostages in order to push Ukraine to “direct talks” with the Russian occupation administrations is inhumane and unacceptable," Permanent Representative of Ukraine noted.
The Presidents of Russia and France, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, held a telephone conversation, during which the issue of resolving the conflict in Donbas was raised.