Zelensky, UN coordinator in Ukraine note importance of maintaining ceasefire regime in Donbas
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky met with coordinator of the UN system in Ukraine and on humanitarian issues Osnat Lubrani on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, the issue of maintaining the ceasefire regime in Donbas was discussed, the press service of the head of state said.
"We are grateful for the support of Ukraine, Ukrainian sovereignty, our territorial integrity. We are grateful for all the work of the United Nations aimed at achieving and establishing peace in the east of Ukraine," the President said during the meeting.
The President noted that he was glad to have an opportunity to have a conversation on the 75th anniversary of the UN, as Ukraine is one of the founding members of the Organization.
Zelensky noted that the regime of silence has been ongoing in Donbas for almost 90 days. The President stated that there were enemy provocations, shootings "and, unfortunately, one dead soldier, but the ceasefire helped minimize losses in the Ukrainian army."
"We sympathize with the families of all those killed in Donbas, but I want to emphasize once again that the whole world sees that in the last 90 days since the beginning of the regime of silence we have had only one combat loss. Unfortunately, this loss exists, but, nevertheless, we understand that this mechanism really works. We are grateful to all our partners for this great work. And first of all, we thank the UN," the President said.
Lubrani noted the importance of the regime of silence both for ending the war and for the security of citizens living in the east. Ms. Lubrani stressed that "people in Donbas see how life has improved since the armistice was reached."
"This truce makes such a big difference in people's lives. The fact that the number of civilian casualties in Donbas has greatly decreased is simply astounding. It is very important that you were one of those who responded to the UN Secretary General's call on the importance of a ceasefire," she said, noting the work of Head of the Office of the President Andriy Yermak on the Normandy format and implementation of the Minsk agreements.
"And although we are not involved in this block of work, we are fully ready to support your vision, to do everything to ensure that people in Ukraine perceive that the ceasefire and gradual progress towards peace is extremely important and that in the end this situation must be brought to completion," the UN System Resident Coordinator in Ukraine added.
Lubrani stated that the Organization's cooperation with Ukraine is aimed at the humanitarian sector, reconstruction, stability and development, and noted the results of this work.
The interlocutors also discussed UN assistance to Ukraine in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, humanitarian support and reconstruction of Donbas, including infrastructure projects.
Ukraine is interested in the active involvement of the UN in overcoming the challenges associated with Russian aggression in Crimea and Donbas, the President stressed and called on the United Nations to jointly develop a plan of action to restore Donbas after its deoccupation and participate in a project to provide the region with drinking water.
"We would like you to pay attention to such an important project, which is very difficult for us to implement only at the cost of the budget of Ukraine - this is an issue of drinking water for Donbas. I would like to remind you that the Donbas Water company provides the entire Donbas - not only the Donbas controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, but also the Donbas, which is temporarily occupied," Zelensky said.
He noted that it is a question of both reconstruction and construction of a water supply network. The President reminded that Switzerland participates in the project, and the President of this country personally visited the enterprise and the region during her last visit to Ukraine.
In addition, Zelensky noted that roads are being actively built and repaired in Donbas. In particular, 343 km of roads are being repaired in Luhansk region, which is 300% more than in the past ten years.
"This is important for the unification, 'stitching' the country," the President said.
The UN System Resident Coordinator in Ukraine stressed that people in Donbas see and appreciate the development of infrastructure, it is of great importance for life.
"When we talk about the restoration of Donbas, we should mean the whole range of issues, including the cleansing of the region's information space from propaganda and fake news," the President said.
In this context, the President recalled Ukraine's initiative to establish the headquarters of the International Office to Counter Disinformation and Propaganda in Kyiv.
Zelensky stressed the importance of further active cooperation between the Coordinator's office and public authorities in order to support Ukraine in those areas and in those regions that need it most. First of all, Donetsk and Luhansk regions.