31 Oct 2019 18:15

DPR schedules Petrivske disengagement for 1 p.m. on Nov 4

DONETSK. Oct 31 (Interfax) - The disengagement in Petrivske is set to begin at 1 p.m. Moscow time on November 4; on November 2 and 3 the conflicting sides are to notify the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) in writing of their readiness to disengage, the foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Natalia Nikonorova, said.

"On October 29, the [Trilateral] Contact Group in Minsk set two key dates for measures at the disengagement site near Petrivske in accordance with the schedule plan approved by the TCG earlier: November 4, for beginning to address violations in practice at the site where disengagement was started back in 2016, and November 2 for the start of preparations (informing the OSCE SMM about forces and weapons being removed, and the following day, November 3, for notification of the readiness for disengagement)," Nikonorova told journalists on Thursday.

The DPR has repeatedly confirmed its readiness to implement the schedule plan, she said. "The DPR people's militia forces are still ready to resume the disengagement commitment. On November 2 and 3, we will notify the OSCE SMM accordingly, and on November 4 a white flare will be launched at the pre-arranged time, 1 p.m. (Moscow time, which is midday Eastern European time)," Nikonorova said.

She said that earlier on Thursday the Ukrainian leadership announced the same date, November 4, despite an arrangement with the TCG to not disclose it. "We hope that this is not just a special move on Ukraine's part so as, in the event of some disruption, to be able to get away with the traditional pretexts about seven days' ceasefire and the supposedly unruly national battalions. As we have seen in Zolote, with the desire, it was entirely possible to appease the radically-minded armed elements and launch the disengagement process," she said.

On October 1, the TCG agreed on disengagement in Zolote and Petrivske. The process is to be carried out within one kilometer on either side of the dividing line.

The disengagement is one of the preconditions for a summit of the Normandy Four, comprising Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and France, which mediates the Donbas conflict.