The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic carries out its activities on the basis of the Donetsk People’s Republic Constitution, Regulations on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic, approved by the Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People’s Republic of May 31, 2016 No. 7-20, guided by laws and regulatory acts of the Head of Donetsk People's Republic and Government of the Donetsk People's Republic, as well as international treaties of the Donetsk People's Republic.
Activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2018 were expanded with new directions. However, the main task of the Ministry is still the effective implementation of the foreign policy of the Donetsk People's Republic.
Minsk negotiation process
In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was assigned a central role in representing the interests of the Donetsk People’s Republic in the Minsk negotiation process to resolve conflict in Donbass. Throughout the past year, representatives of the Ministry participated in activities of the working group on political issues of the Tripartite Contact Group. In addition, in September 2018, the Minister for Foreign Affairs was entrusted with the authority to represent the Republic in negotiation process at the level of the Tripartite Contact Group.
Thus, in 2018, the Ministry’s staff provided analytical, political, and legal support for the negotiation process in its political part. Since September 2018, the Ministry also performs functions of directing and coordinating the activities of all working groups, accumulating information from them, as well as providing information and analytical support for negotiations at the level of the Tripartite Contact Group.
Implementation of the above activities is aimed at quickly ending the armed conflict, establishing stable peace through negotiations and diplomacy, protecting rights and interests of citizens living in the Republic, international recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic as a full-fledged party to the Minsk process.
As part of these tasks, in 2018, 23 meetings of the Tripartite Contact Group and working groups on security, political, humanitarian and economical issues were held. During this period, agreements were reached on observing the cease-fire regime four times (the so-called “Easter”, “bread”, “school” and “winter (Christmas) truce”). It was agreed to restore the mobile operator “Vodafone” in the DPR territory of and carry out repair work on the South Donbass water supply system. Also, on our initiative, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered Ukraine its assistance in paying pensions and other social benefits to people with disabilities in our territory, work is being done in this direction. In the humanitarian sphere, an agreement was reached and implemented on exchange of prisoners according to “1 to 1” format, and preparations were made for the next stage of prisoner exchange according to “all determined to all determined” format under the paragraph 6 of the Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015.
The Minsk negotiation process today is the only negotiation platform where we, together with the mediators, make every effort to compel the Ukrainian party fulfill its obligations. We invariably stand for strict and rigorous implementation of all the signed documents within the framework of the Minsk negotiating process (Protocol of the Tripartite Contact Group of September 5, 2014, Memorandum of September 19, 2014, Package of measures for the implementation of Minsk agreements of February 15, 2015) and do everything necessary for a peaceful settlement in accordance with international law.
Regarding the relations development of the Donetsk People's Republic with foreign countries, it is necessary to underline the intensification of the comprehensive cooperation of the Republic with its main strategic partner countries.
We are increasingly moving along the path of rapprochement and building a much closer actual and legal relationship with the Lugansk People’s Republic. Harmonization of our legislation is now on the agenda. In 2018, a Protocol of Intentions on the creation of a common customs space and Agreement on cooperation in the organization of railway transportation were signed, then an agreement on the creation of a common customs space between the Heads of the DPR and LPR, Protocol on cooperation in industry and trade between the Ministries of Industry and Trade of the DPR and LPR, Agreement on economic cooperation between the Ministries of Economic Development of the DPR and LPR, Agreement on cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the DPR and LPR.
There is also an intensification of interaction with the Russian Federation. Cooperation between city administrations and municipalities of the Russian Federation is actively developing, agreements are being signed on establishing sister-town relations, and the foundation is laid for the development of relations in the economic, cultural, educational, scientific, sports and other fields. In particular, in 2018, twinning agreements were signed between Bakhchisarai (Republic of Crimea) and Uglegorsk (DPR). Also in October 2018, the leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took part in the international conference "Features of Modern Integration Processes in the Post-Soviet Space", held in Yalta, the Republic of Crimea. Participation in such major social and political events greatly contributes to the establishment of contacts and development of international dialogue.
In addition, interaction with the Russian Federation is very active in the framework of the Russian Center, which was founded with the aim of strengthening the integration processes of Donbass with Russia in humanitarian, social and cultural aspects, creating strong and stable relations between the public organizations of the DPR and subjects of the Russian Federation.
Cooperation is also developing with our partners from the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia.
First of all, it is necessary to note the exchange of ratification instruments of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Donetsk People's Republic and the Republic of South Ossetia, which took place at the end of December 2018. At the same time, we emphasize that the implementation of the Treaty has already begun. In pursuance of the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, in 2018 an interdepartmental Agreement was concluded between the Ministry of Health of the DPR and the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the RSO on health cooperation (20.06.2018), as well as an intergovernmental Agreement between the Council of Ministers of the DPR and the Government of the RSO on mutual recognition education and qualifications (22.06.2018).
The interaction between the judicial authorities of our states is also being established. On August 27, 2018, an Agreement on mutual cooperation and exchange of legal information was concluded between the Supreme Court of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Supreme Court of the Republic of South Ossetia.
Cooperation is also developing in the banking sector. On June 1, 2018, the Agreement on Cooperation between the Central Republican Bank of the Donetsk People's Republic and the National Bank of the Republic of South Ossetia was signed.
In addition, on July 19, 2018, the signing ceremony of the agreement “On cooperation between the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of South Ossetia and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Donetsk People's Republic” took place.
The Republic of Abkhazia also interacts in many areas, which from year to year becomes more extensive. Currently, a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation in the field of road and rail transport has been signed between the Ministry of Transport of the DPR and the State Administration of the Republic of Abkhazia for Transport, the Interdepartmental Memorandum of Cooperation in the Field of Education and Science. Also signed an agreement on cooperation between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the DPR and Abkhazia.
It is necessary to highlight the increased role of public diplomacy as one of the main tools for creating a positive image of the Donetsk People's Republic in the international space.
A significant contribution to this process is made by the DPR Representative centers. In 2018, our centers in Europe held about 20 events in support of Republics, in which more than 1,000 European residents have taken part. The most resonant events were: a campaign to exchange New Year cards between children of Donbass and Europe, student online conferences, actions in memory of Donbass killed children, as well as rallies and meetings dedicated to the memory of Alexander Zakharchenko. These actions were held under aegis and with the participation of Representative centers in France, Italy, Greece and Finland.
As for the current Representative Center of the Donetsk People's Republic in Marseilles, French Republic, it is definitely worth mentioning that the center won a court process, which demonstrates full compliance of our center with democratic norms in Europe.
I also note that the Representative centers facilitate regular visits of foreign delegations to the Donetsk People's Republic with goals that coincide with the interests of the Republic: economic cooperation and the development of possible interaction mechanisms, cooperation in scientific, educational, cultural, sports areas, providing humanitarian targeted assistance to residents of the Republic, etc.
In total, over 201 delegations from about 20 countries visited the Donetsk People's Republic in year 2018. We maintain contacts with political and public figures from Germany, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Belarus, France, Finland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey, Chile, Mali and other countries.
It should also be noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic developed and published a limited edition book in Russian and English, dedicated to the 4th anniversary of the Donetsk People's Republic founding.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes an active part in the development of legal acts regulating the foreign policy activities and international relations of the Republic.
The Ministry, together with the People’s Council Committee on Foreign Policy, International Relations, Information Policy and Information Technologies, continues active work on the draft law “On the Diplomatic Service”, which will improve the implementation of the foreign policy of the Donetsk People’s Republic, which legally confirms and reinforces the specifics of the state diplomatic service.
Currently, a draft Decree of the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic “On Approval of the Regulations on the Embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Regulations on the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador the Donetsk People's Republic” is being developed.
On December 6, 2018, the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic signed the Decree “On the coordinating role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic in carrying out a single foreign policy direction of the Donetsk People’s Republic”, which was aimed at implementing the Republic’s foreign policy.
It should be noted that the Ministry developed, agreed with all interested republican bodies of executive power and sent for approval to the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic “Temporary order of legalization of documents issued by the competent authorities of foreign states for action on the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic, as well as by the authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic Republic for their actions outside the Donetsk People's Republic".
Active work is also being done on the development of local regulations. For example, the orders of the Ministry of January 14, 2019 No. 02-OD “On Departmental Awards of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic” and No. 03-OD “On Approval of the Regulations on the Certificate of Honor of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Gratitude Letter of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People's Republic” have already passed state registration in the Ministry of Justice of the Donetsk People's Republic.
In addition, the Ministry has registration archives of bilateral and multilateral international treaties. To date, 4 interdepartmental memorandums of cooperation, 4 interdepartmental agreements on cooperation, one interdepartmental agreement on cooperation intentions, one intergovernmental agreement on mutual recognition of education and (or) qualifications, and one interstate agreement on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance between Donetsk People's Republic and the Republic of South Ossetia.
In 2018, the Ministry reviewed 13 draft international treaties sent by ministries and departments to agree on the possibility of their conclusion.
Also during the year, work was carried out to improve the Foreign Policy Concept of the Donetsk People's Republic, the draft of which was sent for approval to the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic.
Humanitarian program for the reunification of Donbass people
I would like to pay special attention to the humanitarian program for the reunification of Donbass people, which has been implemented for two years. At the same time, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plays a coordinating role in its implementation.
The humanitarian program for the reunification of Donbass people, which has been implemented for two years, is a major initiative. It is extremely important for us to support our fellow countrymen, not to allow the break of centuries-old cultural and historical ties between one Donbass people. Directions of the program are aimed at helping residents of Donbass in the most important areas of life - social security, the provision of medical care, educational, administrative and legal services, as well as work to ensure environmental safety. Now we see with even greater clarity what serious results in terms of support and renewal of ties between the people of Donbass it brings.
In particular, we can safely say that the Humanitarian program is of great interest: in two years, more than 70 thousand calls from residents of the whole Donbass have been sent to the “hotlines” and site of the Humananitarian program.
More than 40 thousand residents of Donbass took part in the Humanitarian program. In particular, more than 2 thousand citizens of such categories as veterans of the Great Patriotic War, large families, disabled children, coal industry workers, and veterans of pedagogical work received assistance in the form of social payments totaling about 14 million rubles. The “United Donbass Foundation”, which helps people in difficult life situations, also operates within the Humanitarian Program. Over the entire period of its work, the Foundation has helped on a parity basis more than 7 thousand residents of Donbass, totaling about 260 million rubles.
In addition, within the framework of the Humanitarian program joint cultural, sports, scientific and educational events are held. So, about 1400 events were held in total, in which more than 25 thousand residents of Donbass took part.
In addition, there are 4 centers for social assistance and administrative services at the control checkpoints on the contact line, in which more than 2 thousand different services were provided in two years.
Along with this, steps are being taken to ensure the environmental safety of Donbass. A joint environmental safety control inspection was established, where projected consequences for potential accidents and emergencies are considered at the most important from the point of view of environmental safety enterprises and facilities of Donbass, which are currently located in the part of the DPR that is temporarily controlled by Ukraine. So, to date, 43 meetings of the Joint Inspection have been held, at which more than 200 objects that have a negative impact on the environment and the population of Donbass were considered. All materials considered at these meetings are transferred to meetings within the framework of the Minsk negotiations.
At the moment, we fully understand which areas are most relevant and how expand the scope of program implementation, introduce new directions, categories of beneficiaries, etc. The Head of the Donetsk People's Republic decided to extend the Humanitarian program for 2019 to help even more residents of Donbass.
Activity of a Special Committee on recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass.
A Special Committee on recording and collecting the evidence of war crimes of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbass was established in accordance with the order of the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic No. 78 (of May 30, 2016).
The main task of the Special Committee is to identify and document the facts, circumstances of crimes against humanity and war crimes by Ukraine in the territory of the Donetsk People's Republic, as well as damage caused by these crimes.
During the Committee work:
- the form of a unified registry of the database on recording offenses by Ukraine was approved, which greatly facilitated the systematization of all crimes against the people of Donbass;
- a unified database of killed and wounded children was created on the territory of the Republic. Currently, work is underway to form a database of wounded adult residents of the Republic;
- there is a hotline of the Special Commission;
- citizens are regularly informed about the activities of the Special Committee through the distribution of information leaflets.
The filling of the unified database register on recording crimes of Ukraine is being carried out. In total, 13,652 records have been made to the single registry, namely:
- civilians (dead) - 473;
- civilians (wounded) - 843;
- children (dead) - 73;
- children (wounded) - 155;
- prisoners and illegally detained persons (civil and military prisoners) - 49.
Work is also underway to process and enter into a unified register of inspection protocols of social facilities and housing of Republic’s cities and regions damaged as a result of hostilities. To date, received acts from all districts of Donetsk have been fully processed, as well as in 18 cities and 4 districts of the Republic - 12,059 acts in total.
All the facts gathered by the Special Committee members are weighty arguments in the work of groups in Minsk. This is direct evidence of non-compliance with the truce and undeniable facts of human rights violations in Ukraine. We will make every effort to collect the most complete and detailed evidence base of the lawlessness of Ukrainian authorities. Our goal is to restore justice and, with the help of international judicial and human rights organizations, to bring to justice all those responsible for the excesses of the Ukrainian military forces in Donbass.
Activities of the Interdepartmental Committee on accreditation of humanitarian missions
I would like to note that my work as the Head of the Interdepartmental Committee on the accreditation of humanitarian missions was started on September 13, 2018. But even for this short period of time I had the opportunity to make sure that, thanks to the efforts of the committee’s members, tremendous work was done for more than three and a half years of its existence. In cooperation with 10 humanitarian organizations accredited in the Republic, with the direct coordination of the relevant ministries, a number of humanitarian projects were implemented. So, in particular:
- reparation works were carried out in institutions of health, education and social protection;
- a number of institutions were provided with containers for storing drinking water, water-heating tanks;
- a number of institutions were provided with hygiene products for bed patients, winter bedding sets;
- medical equipment, property, medicines were delievered;
- at the expense of humanitarian construction materials, flat roofs were repaired at multi-housing facilities;
- among the socially unprotected categories of citizens, heaters, hygiene products, medicines, food and hygiene kits were distributed;
- a number of households received trade and material values for growing vegetables and poultry.
The major projects should be separately noted, in which about 1,500 private households received the necessary building materials (windows installed); more than 16,000 families of the Republic are provided with solid household fuels.
In the current 2019, the Committee will continue to work to optimize the activities of humanitarian organizations in matters of interaction with the administrations and relevant ministries. As the Head of the Committee, I want to thank Committee members for the fruitful work, in particular, representatives of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Healthcare, the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency situations.
Activities of the Interdepartmental working group on combating illegal activities of non-profit organizations
During the work of the Interdepartmental group on combating illegal activities of non-profit organizations, 8 meetings were held, as results of which were two versions of the draft Decree "On measures to protect the interests of the Donetsk People's Republic". These projects, after consultation with the ministries, will be submitted to the Head of the Republic for consideration.
In its work, the Interdepartmental group uses practice, experience and results of the Interdepartmental Committee on the accreditation of humanitarian missions.
Activities of working group on provision of the necessary facilities of control checkpoint “Alexandrovka”
In connection with the need to increase traffic capacity and improve border crossing conditions, the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic decided to create a working group on provision of the necessary facilities of control checkpoint (CCP)“Alexandrovka”. In the Protocol Decision of the Head of the Donetsk People's Republic of December 14, 2018, I was instructed to organize the activities of the working group, which included representatives from the Ministry of Coal and Energy, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the DPR Representative Office in the JCCC, the Ministry of State Security, the Minisrty of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Situations.
At the moment, 3 meetings of the working group have been held, during which a development plan for provision of the necessary facilities of CCP “Aleksandrovka” was developed. According to this scheme, the construction of a new CCP building will be carried out, which will increase its traffic capacity by 3 times. A roadmap of events was also developed, which includes the development of a full-fledged project for CCP arrangement, an increase in the number of border guards and customs officers in order to make checkpoint more effectively.
Unfortunately, for objective reasons, it is impossible to start constructing a new building right now. The place, where the construction is planned should be carefully checked for safety, as well as demining measures should be taken. However, in winter, when the ground is frozen, it is not possible to carry out this event qualitatively.
In this regard, the start of direct construction, according to the roadmap, is scheduled for spring 2019. However, preparations for construction work are already underway. Currently, projects are being developed to provide the CCP with electricity, heating, Internet and other necessary conditions for comfortable and efficient functioning of the checkpoint.
In addition, it is planned to attract international humanitarian organizations that are accredited in the DPR, who have already expressed a desire to take part in this activity - in the CCP “Aleksandrovka” arrangement process.
Work with appeals of individuals and legal entities
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs actively works with appeals from DPR residents and foreign citizens. The employees conduct personal reception, by telephone and e-mail. In 2018, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic responded to 173 written and 332 oral requests from individuals and legal entities. The main part of the incoming appeals concerns issues of entry / exit, obtaining a passport of a citizen of the Donetsk People's Republic, the use of documents issued by the competent authorities of the Donetsk People's Republic in the Russian Federation.
All appeals are reviewed under the current legislation and competence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In pursuance of the main tasks, a number of events have been planed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for year 2019, which are designed to have a positive impact on the image of the Donetsk People's Republic abroad. In addition, in 2019 it is planned to complete the process of opening the Embassy of the Donetsk People's Republic in the Republic of South Ossetia, as well as to open a number of new DPR Representative centers in foreign countries.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic will continue to expand cooperation with foreign countries and their individual representatives, to work on the development of interaction with foreign media, as well as on organizing visits by foreign public figures, politicians and entrepreneurs. Thus, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs promotes the strengthening of the Donetsk People's Republic positions in the international space and transmits the readiness of our state to multilateral cooperation and constructive dialogue to the international community.