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Minsk peace talks: militants block the release of hostages, admitted debt for water supply

On January 27, parties could not reach agreement on the release of hostages at the Minsk peace talks, which was blocked by representatives of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics”
Minsk peace talks: militants block the release of hostages, admitted debt for water supply

According to the information posted on Facebook by Darka Olifer, the press secretary of the ex-president Leonid Kuchma, the representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group, the parties did not reach agreement on the release of hostages, informs Joinfo.ua.

“The Trilateral Contact Group has held a meeting in Minsk today.

The cease-fire and withdrawal of heavy weapons remains a key condition for both solving the humanitarian, economic, political issues and implementation of the Minsk Agreement as a whole. Separately, Ukraine raises the question of regaining control of the Ukrainian-Russian border.

The issue of prisoners release was still blocked by the representatives of individual regions of Donetsk and Luрansk region.

In political issues Ukraine’s position remains unchanged: the elections in the uncontrolled territory of Donbas must be carried out under Ukrainian legislation with the participation of Ukrainian parties, Ukrainian journalists and international observers.

Subgroup on social and economic issues continues work to restore the infrastructure of Donbas. The agenda includes, among other, ensuring the stable coal supply to Ukrainian thermal power plants. The group also continues work on the reconstruction of power lines. It should be noted that the sappers conduct mine clearance in each area before restoring of power lines.

The mechanism of payments for water consumed in areas of Luhansk region [uncontrolled by Ukraine], was agreed with guarantees from Russia. In fact, for the first time, the uncontrolled part of Donbas recognized the problem of having debts to the Ukrainian budget and the need for repayments.

The group also agreed necessity for mine clearance in order to restore the gas pipeline on the territory of Luhansk region under control of Ukraine in the villages of Krymske and Trehizbenka.

In addition, the meeting participants agreed to open crossing point in the Luhansk region (Lisichansk – Hirske – Zolote – Pervomaisk – Stakhanov) by mid-February.

Date of the next meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group will depend on the outcome of the Normandy Four meeting of foreign ministers scheduled for early February,”- wrote Olifer.