MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Dear Madam Chairperson,
Despite public assurances of adherence to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, the Ukrainian authorities do not stop trying to revise the algorithm of actions defined in Minsk to resolve the conflict in the east of the country. The goal is not hidden – the establishment of military control over the territory of Donbass without providing the population with political guarantees envisaged by the “Package of Measures”.
On June 1, the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group L. Kravchuk also spoke about the “return of territories” and not about the implementation of the political provisions of “Minsk” in his comments to the “UNN” agency. He also called for the expansion of the “Minsk” and “Normandy” formats, with the help of which, in his opinion, it is impossible to resolve the conflict today. The same position was recently voiced by President V. Zelensky. In addition, they are calling in Kiev to change the venue of the Contact Group’s meetings. We can also recall the words of the head of the office of the President of Ukraine A. Yermak, who in February of this year declared the impossibility of the Minsk agreements “in the version in which they exist today”, as well as that certain principles from these agreements must be fulfilled. What are these principles, there is still no explanation.
Instead of substantive work on the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Kiev is trying to impose fruitless discussions about who should be considered parties to the conflict. And this is six years after the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2202 in support of the Minsk Package of Measures of February 12, 2015, which clearly states who should fulfill the obligations under the settlement.
On May 26-30, OSCE Secretary General H. Schmid visited Ukraine, visited Kiev and the part of the Donbass territory controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). We regret that she was unable to visit Donetsk and Lugansk and personally assess the consequences of the ongoing military operation of Kiev there. We note her efforts to support the current settlement mechanisms. We share the opinion that the conflict in eastern Ukraine can be resolved solely on the basis of the Minsk agreements and in line with the implementation of the agreements reached in the “Normandy” format.
In an effort to rewrite the Minsk agreements, in which Kiev, to the detriment of all other provisions, prioritizes only the clause on the resumption of control over the border, the Ukrainian authorities are seeking to enlist support abroad. Thus, in the summer, the Ministry of Reintegration plans to present the final version of the draft law on the so-called transition period. According to the comments of the Minister for Reintegration A. Reznikov, the text is currently being studied at the embassies of a number of foreign countries, after which it will be sent for consideration to the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and the OSCE ODIHR. This is another attempt to involve international partners in Kiev’s efforts to rewrite the Minsk agreements.
Let us recall that this bill involves the introduction of a certain special legal regime for certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions while maintaining the current conditions of the socio-economic blockade. Before that, it is planned to establish military control over the border and the entire territory of Donbass – although, according to paragraph 9 of the “Package of Measures”, the resolution of the border issue should be completed after a comprehensive political settlement. In addition, the bill proposes the launch of some civil-military administrations instead of the local elections provided for in clause 4 of the “Package of Measures”. Finally, instead of the amnesty prescribed by clause 5 of the participants in the events in Donbass, there is the concept of the so-called transitional justice with the selective use of repressive instruments based on politically motivated assessments from Kiev in each specific case. At the same time, we are not talking about a permanent special status of the region, or about any dialogue with its real representatives.
Against this background, military tension in the Donbass persists. According to the observations of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), violations of the ceasefire regime, despite a decrease in their number in recent days, occur along the entire contact line. Damage to residential buildings was recorded on both sides of it in the Donetsk region.
June 1 was celebrated as International Children’s Day. Unfortunately, this category, the most vulnerable in the conditions of an armed conflict, continues to suffer from shelling by the Ukrainian military. Children’s educational institutions are also under fire. The SMM has documented the aftermath of shelling of existing schools three times this year. All cases occurred in the territories of certain regions of Donbass. In February and March, a school in the Luhansk village of Zolotoe-5 / Mikhailovka was shelled. In May – a school in the Petrovsky district of Donetsk. Also in May, a 12-year-old child was wounded as a result of shelling of a residential building on the northern outskirts of Donetsk.
Children, along with adults, become victims of mine explosions and the detonation of other explosive objects installed in the conflict zone. The SMM thematic report on civilian mine casualties, covering the period from 1 November 2019 to 31 March 2021, cited three deaths and eight injured. In April-May reports, the Mission confirmed the deaths of three more children and the injury of two children. In total, the SMM has verified 20 dead and 56 wounded civilians in the thematic report. The mission concludes that a full clearance of mines from the region is not possible in the absence of a ceasefire.
Given the ongoing shelling, it is difficult to ensure adequate mine clearance. Measures to strengthen the ceasefire are demonstratively not being observed. Having assumed obligations on these measures in the Contact Group, Kiev refuses to coordinate with Donbass the parameters for monitoring them and responding to violations with the involvement of a coordination mechanism, as prescribed by the agreements of July 22, 2020.
Obstacles to the SMM’s monitoring activities continue, including the operation of its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The problem is especially relevant for long-range drones, which from March 21 this year. regularly experience radio interference in the territories controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including in the deep rear. The topic of the UAV’s work was also emphasized by the Secretary General H. Schmid, who visited the Donbass on May 28. We understand that this trip was accompanied by the provision of certain security measures by the Ukrainian military. It is noteworthy that on the day the Secretary General arrived at the Novotroitskoye checkpoint across the contact line, three mini-UAVs of the Mission experienced radio interference in this very area (report dated May 29). In the same place, one day before, they not only tried to jam, but also fired on an SMM drone over the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (report dated May 27).
By the way, despite the confirmed facts of suppression of the signal of its UAVs, apparently, the Mission is unable to establish the location of the Ukrainian electronic warfare (EW) systems. For example, the last time the Mission reported on the electronic warfare systems “Bukovel-AD” in Donbass was a year ago, in June 2020. However, after that, the Ukrainian headquarters of the “operation of the combined forces” made repeated statements about their use in Donbass. We urge the Mission to intensify, including by means of ground patrols, monitoring of the relevant areas and to reflect the information in the reports.
In Ukraine, pressure continues on the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, its parishioners and clergy. In recent reports, the SMM reported a skirmish on 10 May between supporters of the so-called “Orthodox Church of Ukraine” (OCU) and believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) over the ownership of a temple in N of the item. Zabolotye of the Rivne region. Recall that the OCU was artificially created in 2018 by the efforts of the then leadership of Ukraine and was used by them in their political struggle. Since then, there have been about a hundred incidents related to the deprivation of the parishioners of the canonical UOC of the right to dispose of their churches. Many cases were accompanied by violence and carried out with the support of local authorities and inaction of law enforcement agencies.
And further. In the period from June 28 to July 10, joint NATO exercises with the participation of Ukraine “Sea Breeze – 2021” will be held, within the framework of which joint actions of special operations forces with the Ukrainian ground forces are planned on the territory of Ukraine. According to available information, under the cover of the exercises, it is planned to deliver to Ukraine modern weapons, ammunition and material property. In the future, as in previous years, weapons will be sent to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the paramilitary units of Ukrainian nationalists stationed near the contact line in Donbass. We emphasize that the militarization of Ukraine and the pumping of weapons into it will not contribute to the establishment of peace in Donbass, but, on the contrary, will spur the “hot heads” in Kiev to new rounds of military escalation in the east of the country. We urge the SMM to closely monitor all aspects related to the said exercises.
Once again, we state that the crisis in Ukraine is the result of a staged, financed and organized from abroad coup d’etat in February 2014, which led to an armed confrontation in Donbass and numerous sufferings of millions of civilians. We would like to draw attention to the June 2 videoconference of the members of the UN Security Council according to the “Arria formula”, dedicated to the events on the Kiev “Maidan” in 2013-2014 and their consequences for Donbass. Eyewitnesses shared their testimonies and assessments of what happened. We recommend that you carefully read these materials.
Thank you for attention.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.