LPR Minsk Envoy Vladislav Deynego’s Report on the First Contact Group Meeting of 2019

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Vladislav Deynego

The first meeting of the Contact group in 2019 ended. It was a difficult meeting, for various reasons.

First of all, it was the first one – indicative of expectations for the new year.

Secondly, the Ukrainian side once again confirmed the lack of desire to constructively work on politically solving the conflict. And there is the desire to think that their behaviour was by inertia – a continuation of the tactics of the last meetings of last year. Well, they simply haven’t yet managed to receive new, constructive directives from their leadership because of long holidays…

Further – we did not succeed to drag Ukraine towards constructive dialogue about exchanges. However, here the reasons are much more technical this time, seemingly Ukraine has the visible desire to work to achieve result. But it would be good to understand just how “visible” or real this desire is. Time will tell.

We demanded to carry out an international investigation into the circumstances of the murder of Valery Ivanov in the Drogobych colony (Lvov region). Representatives of Ukraine danced on bones, trying to blame us for his death…

They frankly cackled during the discussion of this question. Even despite the fact that this meeting coincided with the 40th day since Valery’s death. They obviously showed that there is nothing sacred for them…

In the economic subgroup there was change of coordinator and the traditional sluggish positive dynamics in relation to issues that give the Ukrainian side a sure material gain. Concerning other issues there were promises (that repeat themselves and last for months…) to state their position on the whole package of proposals of the International Committee of the Red Cross – starting with repairing the bridge in Stanitsa Luganskaya, which Ukraine hasn’t allowed to be repaired in 4 years, and for 2 years of which it refuses to coordinate the project of the International Red Cross. And finishing with fresh (three-months-old) promises to consider “pilot” proposals for solving the question of the payment of pensions to the handicapped categories of pensioners living on the territories of the People’s Republics.

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Concerning security issues, there was the assertion of the fact that the latest “Christmas” ceasefire ended on January 13th. And the representatives of the UAF in the subgroup once again tried to refuse direct dialogue with the Republics. And there was their (UAF) babyish babbling, and naive and absolutely childish attempts to tell lies (pulling a fast one) in response to our specific questions about the shelling of civilians, repair crews, municipal services, infrastructure facilities shown with diagrams, materials of investigations, and supported by the reports of the OSCE. Such as the shelling on January 8th against teams of road workers of the LPR who were cleaning the road at the request (and in the presence) of the OSCE, and despite the additional security guarantees given by the UAF and recorded by the OSCE specifically for this work. As well as the shelling of a team of workers of “Water of Donbass” (DPR) on January 10th, as a result of which a crew bus was burnt and 3 employees of the enterprise were wounded.

Not a single coherent answer…

Including to our demands (supported by the mediators – the OSCE and the Russian Federation) for the development and coordination of measures in Minsk to ensure compliance with the ceasefire and responsibility for its violation, both for the period of the next ceasefire, which we will try to reach an agreement on in the near future, and for additional security guarantees for the duration of certain work near the contact line.

What we managed to do: prevent the blowing up of floodgates at the Mironovsky reservoir. I think I am even sure that the UAF will not dare to take such a step after a rather sharp discussion of this topic, both in the subgroup on security and in the Contact group. We have shown the inevitable consequences of such an explosion, and not only for our territory, but also for the Kiev-controlled territory – it would be even more painful because it will lead to the shutdown of two power plants and the flooding of several mines. But who from the command of the UAF thinks about such “trifles”?..

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And now, after our clearly illustrated forecasts of the consequences, after the demands of the OSCE (and it is precisely they who found the explosive device on the gate of the floodgate and highlighted this in their report), the Ukrainian side will be obliged to react. Even to “carry out verification”. And, yes, they will say that there was nothing there, that the OSCE report is lying… Let them say it! The most important thing is that the floodgate will remain intact, and people thus will not suffer.

Is this a lot or not enough?

Definitely, this is the maximum that was possible for today.

And even more. The detailed answer of Mr. Apakan [OSCE representative – ed] to the accusations of General Bondar [Ukrainian representative – ed] is worth a lot: observers indeed found explosives on the gate of the floodgate. And the indignation of Mr. Morel [OSCE coordinator – ed], who the representatives of Ukraine in the group have taken for a fool for 2 years, and today they accused him of dishonesty and manipulation. And the sharp remarks made by Mr. Sajdik [OSCE representatives – ed] towards Mr Motsik and Mr Marchuk [Ukrainian representatives in the trilateral contact group – ed], who tried to say that black is “white” so impudently that he could not hold himself back.

So, the Minsk process is underway. With difficulties. But there is no no alternative to it. It is only on this platform that it is possible to directly engage in dialogue with Ukraine to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Donbass. Everything else depends on Ukraine, on its ability to have a constructive dialogue. And for this there is a need to work and work. First of all – its “patrons”. We are ready for dialogue.

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