Withdrawing Russian troops from eastern Ukraine?: ‘Russians are not going to withdraw' – Ukraine's representative in Trilateral Contact Group
Opinion16:31 Aug. 5, 2016

‘Russians are not going to withdraw' – Ukraine's representative in Trilateral Contact Group

Withdrawal of troops from front line is next step in bringing peace to Eastern Ukraine

In the midst of the continued peace negotiations in Minsk, UT correspondent Volodymyr Solohub discusses developments in the peace talks with head of Ukraine delegation in security working group of Minsk trilateral contact group on Ukraine, former prime-minister and defence minister of Ukraine, Mr. Yevhen Marchuk.

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"Last year approximately two months, we had such a period, where there was full ceasefire regime. You know, we have in our experience positive results. But unfortunately after that there were a lot of violations and everybody knows what happened later. Nowadays we're trying to withdraw military units from contact line, but I personally call it frontline, because in reality it's not a contact line. In reality it's frontline. To withdraw from contact line military units for one kilometers."  

We must reach an agreement about principles – how it would be done. Because it's a very sensitive process. The mistrust is very deep from both sides. And just to start withdraw. Before that both sides under OSCE monitoring must stop shooting. Full ceasefire regime must be established during 7 days. Not less. Only after that each side just provided to OSCE the coordinates of the place, where they will withdraw their units to that place.

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Deputy commanders beginning from commanders of commander of military corpse up to platoons are Russian officers. By the way, we demonstrate them their names, photos, their biography. Russians say ‘No it's internet information, it's not true'. But we know exactly. Our military intelligence nowadays knows almost everything what's happening there. It's the main obstacle that the Russians don't agree publicly that they are not involved in that, as they call it – conflict, but in reality it's not a conflict.

Read also No major breakthrough in another Contact group meeting in Minsk

All the time they insist that it is internal conflict and that we must discuss everything with the representatives of the so-called DPR and LPR. Two boys from Donetsk and Luhansk regions – those temporary occupied territories, take part in our discussions. Coordinator allowed them to take part in the discussions, but they are don't have the same authority as we and Russians have. But still they are taking part. You know it's the main aim of Russians to create situations that we – Ukrainian side, would accept the position that it is the internal conflict and that we, I mean the Ukrainian part, must discuss everything them. Not with Russians, which are the main player in this situation. And it ruins very seriously and very often creativity of this process. But still we hope that we would reach this agreement – withdrawal of military units. You know, it's very important to withdraw military units, just to create situation – not just the safety zone, to create situation, when snipers wouldn't see each other. 

'In this region would be stablished remote control cameras. Day and night period – night cameras and so on. It means that this territory would be controlled not only by representatives of OSCE and JCCC, but with this special cameras. Certainly we understand according to our practice that when we prepare and when we agree on everything unfortunately not all the time everything is going as planned. But still, it's new quality of withdrawal. Before this period all withdrawal was connected with withdrawal of heavy weapons, not military units. Military units remained facing each other. In some regions they are separated apporx. 700 meters. They even see each other without binoculars. That's why this period is very sensitive and very important. And that's why there's a very serious interest of leaders of Normandy-4."

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