In view of this, the Ukrainian delegation to the OSCE called on the Russian side to explain whether this marks Russia's withdrawal from the Minsk agreements or its intention to recognize the so-called "DPR" and "LPR," according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
"Regarding the Russian propaganda narrative on the internal nature of the conflict in Donbas, it would be very interesting to hear a clear explanation from the Russian representative about the statements delivered yesterday by the plenipotentiary representative of the Russian Federation to the TCG, Mr. Boris Gryzlov, who stated that 'as of today, two more states have been established in Ukraine'," Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Vienna Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk said at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on Thursday, July 9.
He called on Russia's envoy to the OSCE, Alexander Lukashevich, to clarify whether the July 9 statement by Gryzlov means that Russia intends to withdraw from the Minsk agreements or whether it plans to recognize those occupied areas.
The statement by the head of the Ukrainian mission to the OSCE was made in the presence of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the TCG Heidi Grau and the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine Yasar Halit Cevik who reported on the situation on the ground and the current state of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
Tsymbaliuk said that Ukraine had repeatedly stressed its principled position that it is ready to talk to its citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, "but not to those who hold Russian passports and have no legitimate right to represent the local Ukrainian population." He said such dialogue was being conducted, inter alia, by including representatives of the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as advisers to the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG.
"I would remind that the Minsk Agreements, signed by Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE as mediator, are ultimately aimed at withdrawal of Russia-led illegal armed formations from the territory of Ukraine, reinstatement of full control of the state border by the Government of Ukraine (de-escalation of the security situation on the ground), and introducing a special order of local self-government in the certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine (political settlement)," Tsymbaliuk said.
He also said that Russia had not yet demonstrated any major changes in its position regarding its role and responsibility as a party to the bilateral conflict but, instead, it continued "to vehemently deny its illegal occupation of Crimea and hide cowardly behind its proxies in Donbas, pushing forward the so-called 'direct dialogue' with them."
"This policy severely undermines the effectiveness of consultations within the Trilateral Contact Group and its Working Groups, as time and efforts are wasted on formalities rather than substantial discussions between the two parties to the conflict," Tsymbaliuk said.
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