The Ukrainian government will make a decision on further disengagement of forces and equipment in Donbass after the Normandy Four summit, head of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence Alexander Zavitnevich said in an interview with BBC News Ukrainian published on Friday.
"The General Staff is exploring other areas within 400 km [of the line of contact]," he stated. "However, neither the commander-in-chief, nor the [Ukrainian] minister [of defense Andrei Zagorodniuk], nor the chief of the General Staff [of the Ukrainian Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak], have set new goals in other areas."
"The order is clear: three settlements. Then we shall wait for the meeting of our president in the Normandy Format. On the outcomes of it, we will make a decision on disengagement," TASS quoted Zavitnevich as saying.
Disengagement of forces in Ukraine should be completed along the whole contact line of conflict as soon as possible in order to prevent casualties, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Thursday, commenting on the completion of the disengagement of forces in Petrovskoye and Zolotoye.
On November 12, the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission confirmed the pullback of forces near Petrovskoye — the last of the three previously agreed pilot areas in Donbass.
The completion of disengagement in Petrovskoye finalizes the process of disengaging forces and weapons in three pilot security zones on the contact line, namely near Petrovskoye (in the Donetsk People’s Republic), Zolotoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya (both in the Lugansk People’s Republic). A framework agreement on the disengagement of forces in Donbass was signed by Ukraine, Russia, the OSCE and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics in September 2016. The parties resumed efforts to implement the 2016 agreement after the 2019 presidential election in Ukraine.
The disengagement of forces and weapons at the contact line in Donbass is required for holding a summit of the Normandy Four countries (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) to discuss further steps to settle the conflict in the region.