Ukraine and Donbass separatists agree to recover 2020 truce

The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky. / EFE

The press service of the Ukrainian delegation in the contact group created under the Minsk peace accords of 2015, has pointed out that the new truce reached between Kiev and the separatists of Donetsk and Luhansk (Donbass) “arouses moderate optimism. in order to unblock the peace process.

On Wednesday, the head of the office of the Presidency of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, said that “all parties within the contact group agreed to return to full compliance with the ceasefire in Donbass and the Ukrainian Armed Forces have pledged to strictly respect it. ». Yermak reported through Facebook that on Wednesday “the last meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group of this year took place, which allows us to harbor moderate optimism about a possible de-escalation of the situation in Donbass and the unblocking of the peace process” .

During the meeting, Yermak stressed, “a general understanding was reached on the need to resume the ceasefire regime within the framework of the measures agreed on July 22, 2020.” The talks were held under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said talks to achieve a ceasefire were being “difficult”. Moscow, for its part, expressed the wish that the truce also include a prisoner exchange and the opening of checkpoints.

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In April 2014, the Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic to prevent their secession. Both territories were declared independent encouraged by Russia after the fall of the then Ukrainian president, Victor Yanukovych.

The aid of Moscow, that sent arms, mercenaries and until military in the reserve, caused that a war broke out with a balance of 13,000 dead, according to the UN.

There were two attempts in Minsk to stop the hostilities with the mediation of Germany and France, the second took place in February 2015 and ended with the current drafting of the peace accords. Earlier, in June 2014, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Allied landing, the then French President, François Hollande, invited his Russian counterparts, Vladimir Putin, and Ukrainian, Petro Poroshenko, in a failed attempt to stop the war. The so-called Normandy Group (Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine) was then created, of which the United States now also intends to be a part.

“I am satisfied that the participants have expressed their strong determination to fully respect the measures to reinforce the ceasefire agreement of July 22, 2020,” said Mikko Kinnunen, Finn, OSCE representative and mediator, in a statement. in the conflict, following the agreement reached on Wednesday. And it is that the current tensions with Russia enhance the meaning of a truce at this time. According to Kinnunen, “it is very important to the people who live on both sides of the border.”

Since the conflict broke out in Donbass, many have been the agreed truces and also their systematic failure. July 2020 was the longest of all. Just over a year ago, Zelensky spoke of the “radical decline” in fighting on the line of “contact” that separates the Ukrainian troops from the separatist forces in Donbass. He then pointed out that “the number of armed attacks was reduced five times, the fatalities among the military, ten times, and the number of wounded, also ten times.” He assured that “a year ago, we lost one of our military personnel every 72 hours on average. Now weeks, months go by without any deaths or injuries.

However, that long armistice also came to an end. Last February they were already shooting again. Two months later, in April, talks were resumed to try to stop the hostilities, but to no avail. At the end of that month, the OSCE issued a press release informing that “regrettably, no agreement has been reached”.

In these conversations, the former president of the Duma (Lower House of the Russian Parliament), Borís Grizlov, intervenes as a Russian mediator. The lack of consensus has led to the trickle of deaths to continue. The acquisition of Turkish drones by the Ukrainian Army was one of the reasons why Russia proceeded to deploy an imposing war device along the border with Ukraine.

Moscow accuses Kiev of not complying with the Minsk agreements and of having sent half of all its troops to Donbass. At the beginning of the month, Putin denounced the discrimination that, according to him, the population of Donbass suffers. “It is the first step towards genocide,” he warned. However, Washington warned on Wednesday that “Russia continues to escalate and has not stopped reinforcing its military presence” on the border with Ukraine.

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