Ongoing attacks prevent Donbas disengagement from happening - Prystaiko
The disengagement of forces and hardware, which was due to begin in the Donbas towns of Zolote and Petrivske on Monday consistent with the agreements reached in Minsk, has been thwarted by ongoing attacks on these populated localities, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said.
"The disengagement process was scheduled to begin today, as agreed by our negotiating team [in the Trilateral Contact Group] in Minsk," Prystaiko said at a joint press conference with Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics in Kyiv on Monday.
"To our deep regret, you know that Petrivske and Zolote came under attack several days ago. As you remember, we agreed to begin the disengagement on the seventh day of truce in this area," he said.
Kyiv will wait until the truce is observed for seven days in a row, which will demonstrate the seriousness of the sides' intentions and their readiness for further disengagement efforts, Prystaiko said.
"As for security issues, the disengagement implies withdrawal of our forces, while fortifications will stay where they are. If we see that the opposite party fails to honor the deal or, God forbid, plans any aggressive actions, our army will regain its positions," he said.
Prystaiko recommended against taking advantage of the disengagement of forces "to take over certain positions or a populated locality."
The Ukrainian National Police will be protecting populated areas and ensuring their security, he said.