On Friday, February 17, the Heads of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics held a meeting with the Deputy Head of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Alexander Hug.
The meeting took place in the presence of mass media representatives. It wasn’t that interaction of the People's Republic's Heads with the OSCE Representative was fruitful.
Igor Plotnitsky and Alexander Zakharchenko adduced to the OSCE a number of claims on the quality of the Monitoring Mission's activity. In particular, the agenda included the issues of the OSCE's ignoring gross violations of the Minsk Agreements committed by Ukrainian military, violations of the silence regime, seizure of objects and localities in the 'grey zone', redeployment of military equipment forbidden by the agreements to the contact line, etc. Alexander Hug responded to all charges with stock phrases and appeals to observe the Minsk Agreements.
Alexander Zakharchenko emphasized that the Donetsk People's Republic was observing the Minsk Agreements, contrary to Ukraine. And that is the reason why unilateral withdrawal of forces and facilities by the DPR army is impossible.
“I state officially, as the Head of the Donetsk Peoples Republic I tell with all the responsibility that I will not give an order to withdraw any single tank, any single mortar from the front-line until we are sure that Ukrainian troops withdraw their hardware with signs of good will, huge desire…” said Zakharchenko.
Summing up the meeting's results, the Head of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko noted that the Republics continued adhering to the strategy of the conflict's peaceful solution, but the position of Ukraine remained permanently aggressive, and it might result in another escalations of hostilities.
"The OSCE Mission refused to accept our arguments. The situation is very tough. Ukraine isn't going to refuse the desire to solve the conflict through the use of force. We, in our turn, are bending every effort to avoid this. But any patience may run out. In 2015 we showed that we could apply military methods successfully. But those mean casualties, destructions, shedding of blood. Therefore, we will continue making attempts to solve the issue peacefully. But if it doesn't work out – we will solve this in a different way," said Alexander Zakharchenko.
Source: Official web-site of the DPR Head Alexander Zakharchenko
Official translation by DONi News Agency
Picture by Patrick Lancaster