"There is some progress, but it is being blocked by the Russian side in order to disrupt the implementation of the decision of the last Normandy format summit and to hinder the prospect of a new meeting of the format leaders," Ukraine’s representative in the security subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group, Deputy Commander of the JFO Bohdan Bondar told the Novosti Donbassa media outlet.
According to Bondar, Ukrainian and Russian sides offer their options for disengagement sites. “But the Russian side refuses to consider Ukraine's position with flimsy arguments. We say that we are ready to consider Russia's position, but no compromise has been reached so far,” the newspaper quotes Bondar as saying.
Ukraine’s representative in the security subgroup stressed that the main obstacle to reaching agreements was Russia's unwillingness to recognize itself as a party to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Instead, Moscow tries to pretend to be a moderator of negotiations on par with the OSCE. “The main message of the Russian side: one party [to the conflict] is Ukraine and the other is the representatives of certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. They say that we should reach agreement and Russia will support it," Bondar said.
He expressed doubts that the heads of the delegation would manage to settle the disengagement of forces during a video conference meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on Wednesday. "It is very difficult for heads to come to terms when there is no agreement in the subgroup at the level of expert," Bondar noted.
As a reminder, the disengagement of forces and hardware should have been carried out at the three new sections along the demarcation line in Donbas by the end of March.
As reported, on November 9, 2019, the Ukrainian military and Russian-occupation troops started the process of disengagement of forces and hardware at the site No.3 in the area of the villages of Bohdanivka and Petrivske in Donetsk region.
On October 29, 2019, the reciprocal disengagement of forces and hardware at the site No.2 near Zolote-4 locality in Luhansk region was completed.
The disengagement of forces of the Ukrainian army and occupation troops on site No.1 in the area of Stanytsia Luhanska took place in June.
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