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Participants of Wednesday’s Ukrainian reconciliation meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk failed to set the date for the disengagement of forces near the settlement of Petrovskoye, Russia’s envoy to the Contact Group on Ukrainian settlement, Boris Gryzlov, said.
"The disengagement of forces and weapons was conducted successfully in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area. Mine clearance efforts are currently under way there, measures to rebuild a bridge in the checkpoint area have been coordinated," he said. "Today the disengagement of forces and weapons in the Petrovskoye area was also discussed, but the final date of the start of this process has not yet been set."
"Kiev’s calls to revive the Normandy Format dialogue can hardly be consistent with how previous Normandy decisions are being put into practice. Further disengagement of forces and weapons can seriously improve the situation and mitigate the threat to people’s lives," TASS quoted Gryzlov as saying.
Representatives of Ukraine, the Donbass republics, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) signed a framework agreement on the disengagement of forces in three areas of Donbass in September 2016. The document set up security zones near the Zolotoye and Stanitsa Luganskaya settlements in the LPR, as well as near the Petrovskoye settlement in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
Troops and weapons were withdrawn from the Zolotoye and Petrovskoye areas in October 2016, while Kiev repeatedly disrupted the disengagement process in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area, citing alleged attacks from the LPR militia. The parties resumed efforts to implement the 2016 agreement only after the 2019 presidential election in Ukraine. The disengagement process completed in the Stanitsa Luganskaya area in June 2019.
On July 17, the Contact Group on resolving the situation in eastern Ukraine agreed to resume the implementation of the disengagement agreement in two more areas along the line of contact. However, little progress has been achieved so far.