At the first meeting of the Contact Group this year, instead of discussing ways to reduce the escalation both on the line of contact and in the media space, as well as options for returning to a constructive track on the negotiation track, the Ukrainian side preferred to stick to the unproductive tactics of refusing to positions converge.
As part of the security agenda, the coordinator Mr. Cevik stated that progress could not be achieved at the meeting of the working group due to contradictions in parties’ positions. Our proposals are based on real practical steps to implement measures to strengthen the ceasefire regime, and, in particular, to launch the full-fledged work of coordination mechanism. In turn, the Ukrainian proposals to include representatives of the OSCE Mission, as well as Germany and France, into the current JCCC composition are absolutely unviable, since they completely deprive the coordination mechanism of efficiency in resolving ceasefire issues, not to mention the fact that the functionality and tasks of the new representatives are completely unclear.
After the report of the coordinator Ms. Berman on the political bloc, we are forced to once again state that full-fledged work on political issues is currently impossible, since the Ukrainian representatives still have not sent their responses to our draft Roadmap. But it is this document, if agreed by both parties and approved at the level of the parliaments of Ukraine and the Republics, that could become an effective tool for the effective implementation of the Package of measures and other agreements reached at the Minsk site.
During the discussion on the humanitarian track, we heard a report by the OSCE Coordinator, Ms. Relander, in which she, among other things, reported on the results of her visit to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. But, unfortunately, we have not heard from either the mediator or the Ukrainian side information about the dates within which Kiev will finally fulfill its obligations to release persons from criminal prosecution, although almost two years have passed since these commitments were confirmed and endorsed by the Ukrainian authorities.
The part of the meeting devoted to economic issues consisted of a report by the coordinator, Mr. Salber, who noted both certain pinpoint consensus reached within the profile group and the existence of objective obstacles to the restoration of socio-economic ties.