9:35 / 04 Oct. 2015 / 895
Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk has signed an agreement on the withdrawal of weapons, the railway communication with the front-line settlements has been renewed in the territories under Ukrainian control, a meeting of the UN General Assembly was held in New Your, where a lot of attention was paid to the situation in the East of Ukraine. More details about key events of the last week are in our weekly review.
Negotiations of Normandy Quartet in Paris
In Paris on Friday, October 2, there was a meeting of members of the Normandy Quartet, which should be paid special attention due to its institutional arrangements.
According to Angela Merkel – Chancellor of Germany – during the negotiations it was agreed on the adoption of the Election Law of Donbas, the Law on the special status of Donbas and the Amnesty Law. However, the basic agreement, which was reached by the leaders of “Normandy Quartet”, was the decision to hold elections according to Ukrainian law on the territories under control of DNR and LNR.
In addition, it was reported that “Normandy Quarter” assumed the prolongation of the Minsk agreement process for 2016. French President, Francois Hollande, stated that the Minsk Agreement should be implemented during the envisaged period of time, namely, until the end of 2015. However, he admitted the possibility to work on the implementation of the Minsk agreements during the next year.
Moreover, French President claimed about the necessity for providing the immunity to all candidates during the elections on the territories controlled by DNR and LNR. Hollande added that the issue of amnesty, which “should happen together with the elections”, was discussed during the meeting. French president said that the elections in Donbas should correspond to Ukrainian legislation during 80 days after the adoption of the relevant law.
Agreement on the withdrawal of weapons with caliber smaller than 100 mm
Last week another important news was the fact that Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk has signed an Agreement on the withdrawal of weapons with caliber smaller than 100 mm. The document was signed by representatives of Ukraine and the OSCE. Later, the “heads” of the unrecognized republics – Oleksandr Zacharchenko and Ihor Plotnickiy – also signed the document.
It was noted that the implementation of this Agreement would last for about 40 days and would have two stages. The first one will start in 2 days after a complete ceasefire and will be implemented in the majority of security zones of Luhansk region during 15 days. The second stage on the withdrawal of weapons will last 24 days and will be spread throughout the whole area of security. In particular, ATO speaker in Luhansk region stated that the withdrawal of weapons would begin on October 5, starting with tanks.
Ivica Dacic – OSCE Chairman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia – supported the Agreement on the withdrawal of weapons with caliber smaller than 100 mm from the contact line in Donbas. He emphasized that the implementation of the Agreement would be followed by more than 500 observers of the Special Monitoring Mission OSBE in Donbas.
Situation on Donbas territory under Ukrainian control
This week, there has been a positive movement in the field of railway communications in the region. Thus, it was reported that “Ukrzaliznytsya” has launched additional night passenger train № 409/410 Kharkiv – Lisichansk, which will run every day. The train will go through the Mohnach, Chuguev, Shevchenkovo-Yuzhnoe, Kupyansk-Uzlovle, Svatovo, Rubezhnoe stations.
In addition, suburban railway communication with front-line Avdeevka is going to be renewed. From October 1, 2015 it is possible to travel from Avdeevka (Donetsk region) to Krasnoarmeysk, Mezhevaya, Zhelannoe, Ocheretino.
Such decisions were related to the fact that residents of the front-line area in Donbas come back home. According to Georgiy Tooka – the head of the Luhansk regional military and civil administration – the population is gradually coming back to the city that are located on the zero line of demarcation line (in particular, directly on the front line).
The problem of mine areas has aggravated due to the increasing flow of people, who are returning to their places of permanent residence in the region. Thus, “desant”- a group of 150 demines – are planning to arrive to Luhansk region, who will deal with disposal of hazardous findings in border areas. There are the road signs «Stop! Mines! » along the roadside area in the direction of the checkpoint “Berezovoe”. The representatives of the “International Committee of the Red Cross” put forward it. In addition, the Ukrainian president said that the process of demining of Donbas territories would be held under the auspices of the OSCE and with the participation of Germany and France.
Last week, Zhebrivskyi Pavel – the head of Donetsk region – also stated about the necessity of rebuilding of settlements, which were destroyed during the hostilities. Donetsk Governor will apply to various foreign funds and investors in order to do this. It also became known that American company RWL Water is going to build water treatment facilities in Donbas. According to company representatives, they have the ability to clean the marine, mining and dirty underground water to drinking water. In its turn, OBSE, reported about readiness for inspection of destroyed transmission lines, which connect the Luhansk TPP with a combined energy system of Ukraine. It will allow us to restore damaged lines quickly.
IDPs from Donbas
In September 2015, despite the ceasefire in Donbas, the number of internally displaced persons from the Eastern regions of Ukraine increased to almost 10 thousand. It has reached 922.4 thousand. However, comparing to August, the growth of this rate has slowed down by 2 5 times. Such data were demonstrated in the monthly monitoring of the dynamics of IDPs by community initiative “Restoring Donbas” (the information is based on the State Emergency Service of Ukraine). In addition, according to the Ministry of Social Policy, more than 400 thousand IDPs are registered in the employment centers of Ukraine and can not find work.
There is still unsolved problem related to the voting of IDPs in local elections. According to experts, it is impossible to resolve it by the elections due to the fact that necessary provisions have not been adopted.
IDPs faced to another issue, which is not regulated by law. It comes about the fact that the institutions of guardianship and custody of children (who have been moved from uncontrolled territories of Donbas) have not been determined yet. According to Elena Petryaeva – the head of community initiative “Restoring Donbas” – this situation has touched upon foster families and family-type homes, which went to other countries. In the nearest future, it will touch upon the families, who have left in Ukraine.
Activists of the “East-SOS» and «The Right to Protection” were inspecting the work of departments of Oschadbank, which transfer social benefits to IDPs and displaced pensioners. The results of this survey were presented last week. It demonstrated mainly unsatisfactory work of the financial structure and low quality of service of its customers.
Last week, the Cabinet amended the procedure for the providing the subsidies for the population, which will simplify formalization of benefits by officially registered IDPs. In particular, the lawyers of “Restoring Donbas” stated that according to a new procedure, it was cancelled the requirement for re-registration of accounts for utilities to the tenant. Previously, this rule prevented an obtaining of subsidies by IDPs due to the fact that plethora lessors refused re-registration of accounts for the provision of public utilities.
Passing the demarcation line
It is planned to open two more checkpoints on the demarcation line using the relative calm from the both parties. Thus, until October 10, a temporary station will be opened in Luhansk Stanyce. However, it will be closed for the movement of goods and commodities.
The headquarter of ATO is also considering the idea of opening the passage through the boundary line in Marinka area. It will allow residents to use the road Kurakhovo-Donetsk.
Last week, it was held a meeting of the UN General Assembly, where the world leaders of different countries had the floor. Some of them told about the situation in Eastern Ukraine.
Thus, US President Barack Obama claimed that Minsk Agreements can be implemented during a few months. “Concerning Ukraine, the President reaffirmed our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Ukrainian government. Mr. Obama also stressed the positive opportunities to carry out the Minsk Agreement during the next few months, “- the representative of the US administration said.
President of Belarus Oleksandr Lukashenko stated: «If we do not resolve the situation in Donbas, it will lead to a global conflict and potentially a new world war at the center of the civilized and modern world.”
Petro Poroshenko stated that every day military actions take about 5 million dollars from Ukraine. In addition, he emphasized that military operations in the East of the country “led to the emergence of new forms of poverty – sudden or unexpected poverty that affects the lives of about 1.5 internally displaced persons in Ukraine.”
During the General Assembly, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was talking about the situation in Ukraine. According to him, UN has not enough money. That is why the organization was able to finance only 39% of the aid plan for Ukraine.
There is still complicated situation related to the work of international humanitarian organizations on the uncontrolled territories of Ukraine. Even before the last week, the leadership of the unrecognized republics banned the work of several humanitarian agencies, including the work of the International Red Cross. The situation has not been resolved. Therefore, the ambassadors of the EU and the US called on the rebels to resume the work of humanitarian agencies in Donbas. According to them, inhibition of all humanitarian programs in Luhansk and Donetsk endangers the lives of the most vulnerable groups, including children, women and the seniors due to the lack of access to basic services. OSCE stated the same thing. Ivica Dacic – the organization’s chairman – expressed deep concern concerning the suspension of almost all humanitarian programs, and called on all parties to take measures that would allow the immediate resumption of the work of humanitarian organizations and to improve freedom of movement in Eastern Ukraine.
The restoring-donbass.com website - is an interactive platform, which was created by the "Restoring Donbas" community initiative of Oleksandr Klymenko. The latest news, blogs and analysis, background information and useful ads for IDPs and Donbas residents are available on the website.
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