6 Dec 2019 20:00

LPR, DPR reject Zelensky's 'municipal guard' idea for Donbas

LUHANSK/DONETSK. Dec 6 (Interfax) -The self-proclaimed Luhansk (LPR) and Donetsk (DPR) people's republics have criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's initiative to set up a "municipal guard" in Donbas.

"This idea of Zelensky's is too creative, but absolutely impractical. None of the militia servicemen will agree to march together with looters and murderers. And for Zelensky's information, the OSCE doesn't have military units altogether. It's is a purely civil mission," LPR representative to the political subgroup of the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) for Donbas Rodion Miroshnik wrote on Telegram on Friday.

"The security of people in the republics of Donbas has been defended and will be defended by the militia, the existence of which is sealed both by the Minsk Agreements and the law on special status," Miroshnik said.

DPR head Denis Pushilin, in turn, told reporters that "Zelensky's idea is merely another attempt to substitute the essence of the Minsk Agreements."

"As regards militia units, in accordance with the Package of Measures, they can be formed only on the basis of decisions of local councils in Donbas, and we will not permit the presence of any [Ukrainian] National Guard soldiers on our soil," Pushilin said.

Later, Ruslan Yakubov, the DPR chief representative in the Joint Center for Control and Coordination, said that Zelensky's idea was in total dissonance with the Minsk agreements whereby the self-proclaimed republics are to form people's militia on their own.

"The next illogical proposal was the creation of the so-called 'municipal guard' which, according to the Ukrainian leader's idea, was to be equally composed of the Ukrainian national guards, OSCE representatives and the republics' representatives, the non-combatant ones. At the same time, he did not bother clarifying the purpose and objective of this municipal guard, apparently because his invention is in total dissonance with the Minsk agreements whereby the republics are to form the people's militia on their own," Yakubov said.

It is because Kyiv has been ignoring its Minsk commitments for six years now that the republics set up all required law enforcement agencies to maintain law and order, he said.

"Yet again, we are reminding to Mr. Zelensky: maximum that is required of him is an official recognition and consistent implementation of all clauses spelt out in the Package of Measures. As long as Ukraine's leaders are trying to fight against the Minsk agreements instead of implementing them, the republics will continue to exist de facto, getting stronger and ever farther from Ukraine," Yakubov said.