Russia continues to provide the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic with weapons, and it is now important to regain control of the Russian-Ukrainian border to decrease the conflict situation in eastern Ukraine, according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation of the OSCE Forum, Ihor Prokopchuk.
“The situation at the uncontrolled border needs to be significantly improved in order for a decrease in conflict to occur. However, Russia continues to provide the Donbas with weapons,” Prokopchuk said on Thursday.
He also said that militants continue to fire at Ukrainian positions from residential areas in separatist-controlled territories. “We condemn Russian separatist forces who fire from residential areas. We have received reports of this from the SMM of the OSCE,’ he said.
Prokopchuk said that because of Russia’s actions, 28 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in May and 96 were wounded. The actions of the separatists also endanger the lives of civilians living in the conflict zone.
According to him, a stable ceasefire in eastern Ukraine remains a basic requirement for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Prokopchuk says that Russia “denies Donbas the possibility of establishing peace” by selectively interpreting the Minsk Agreements and putting forward their conditions for the suspension of the attacks.
He also noted the importance of immediately releasing Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia. “The release of prisoners and illegally detained people remains a priority for all of us. This also applies to Ukrainian political prisoners who are being held in Russia,” Prokopchuk said.
It was previously reported that in February, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree confirming that a Ukrainian delegation will participate in negotiations in the framework of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, the Joint Consultative Group and the Open Skies Consultative Commission. Prokopchuk is head of this delegation and the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to International Organizations.