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OSCE Special Representative in Ukraine urges parties to adhere to their commitments, prevent further escalation

KYIV. Oct 28 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Special Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Mikko Kinnunen called on the parties to adhere to their commitments and not to allow further escalation to the disengagement line between the JFO units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Russian occupation forces.

"The security situation has dominated today’s discussions in the TCG. The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) reported increased tensions along the contact line and an increased presence of heavy equipment in the withdrawal zone. Raising issues related to the use of prohibited equipment and weapons systems, I called on all parties to adhere to their obligations and not to allow further escalation," the ambassador said in a statement released after the regular meetings of the TCG and its Working Groups in the format of videoconferences.

Kinnunen said that the ongoing disagreements on procedural issues have so far prevented the Political Working Group from essentially considering issues related to the development of a single Action Plan based on written proposals from all members of the Working Group in full compliance with the Minsk Agreements.

Reportedly, participants in the Humanitarian Working Group held a detailed discussion on the topic of missing persons. They also exchanged views on the opening of new checkpoints across the line of contact and the mutual release of persons held in connection with the conflict.

Discussions in the Economic Working Group focused on water supply issues, in particular on tariffs and legal aspects of water supply to certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine (ORDLO). Participants also discussed recent travel restrictions to ORLO and their possible impact on the ability of retirees to receive pensions in government-controlled territory.

At the same time, it is said that the unprecedented restrictions and irritation that the SMM faced in the past week is unacceptable. These issues were also included in the discussion, as these and other obstacles remain and threaten the Mission’s fulfillment of its mandate.

The Security Working Group devoted its work to discussing the detention at Zolote – Pervomaisk site on 13 October. The participants did not come to a consensus on how to build mutual trust. With regard to the detainee, transparency regarding his status is important, as well as compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law.

As reported, illegal armed groups from October 17 did not release two OSCE SMM officers from the premises of the forward patrol base in the temporarily occupied Horlivka and demanded the release of an illegal armed group member, Russian citizen Andriy Kosiak, detained on October 13 by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The corresponding order was given by the so-called "mayor" of the city.

The Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas regards the detention of observers of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in the premises of the forward patrol base in the temporarily occupied Horlivka (Donetsk region) as taking them hostage.