Three 'humanitarian' disengagement areas to be coordinated in Minsk by late March – Zelensky
The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) will agree on three "humanitarian" areas for further disengagement of forces and hardware in Donbas by late March, as agreed at the Normandy-format summit in Paris, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said at a briefing for the Ukrainian media in the early hours of Tuesday.
"All sides demanded that disengagement be accomplished along the entire contact line, all sides. I gave explanations of the statistics and practices and showed that we acted faster than the other side. Yet, disengagement was accomplished in three areas within six months. So, considering that the contact line is 408-409 kilometers long, we'll be carrying out disengagement for 20 years," Zelensky said.
It is possible to achieve complete disengagement of forces within six to eight years if the process accelerates and involves bigger areas, he said.
"The situation is not easy. But we have said that we must help people. We should discuss humanitarian areas, such as Stanytsia Luhanska. Not Schastia or Debaltseve, where we cannot [disengage forces right now] for strategic, political, and humanitarian reasons," Zelensky said.
Therefore, "humanitarian areas, locations of a bridge or passage" were discussed, he said. "General Staff Chief Mr. Khomchak was there. I tasked him with preparing three simple areas which will actually be helpful from the humanitarian point of view and won't pose any risk," Zelensky said.
There are such areas, and they will be coordinated at the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk, he said.
"We have agreed to do so by the end of March. This is why I want these areas to be easy to handle," Zelensky said.