Situation in Ukrainian crisis area far from stable - Sajdik
The situation in Donbas is volatile, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)'s Special Envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (TCG), Martin Sajdik, said.
Unfortunately, incidents involving civilian deaths and injuries have been observed, he said. These include the attack on a bus carrying Donetsk Filtering Station (DFS) employees on Tuesday and the death of a family whose car hit an explosive device, Sajdik told reporters after the TCG meeting in Minsk on Wednesday.
Sajdik talked about his visit to Donetsk and Luhansk regions, saying that he had crossed the contact line at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint and had personally learned about the hardships experienced by local residents, especially older and disabled people.
Improving the operation of current checkpoints and opening new ones, paying pensions to local residents of areas outside Kyiv's control, and the general security situation are pressing issues for the TCG, he said.
While discussing the general situation in the crisis area and observance of the ceasefire, the security subgroup emphasized the need for security guarantees for civil infrastructure facilities. The group also discussed the withdrawal of heavy weaponry, the disengagement of forces and military hardware, and the possibility of opening checkpoints, Sajdik said.
The humanitarian subgroup continued to discuss swapping prisoners and the conditions in which they are being held, he said.
The economic subgroup discussed further steps needed to restore the Vodafone service in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Sajdik said, adding that the group also discussed pension payments and water supply.
The political subgroup continued to discuss the implementation of the Steinmeier formula. According to the subgroup's coordinator, for the group to work successfully, cooperation with the Normandy format countries is vitally important, Sajdik said.