18 Sep 2019 12:47

Ukrainian army ready to disengage along entire Donbas contact line - JFO commander

KYIV. Sept 18 (Interfax) - Kyiv is preparing to disengage along the entire Donbas contact line, but in the end everything will depend on the opposite side's ability to reciprocate, Joint Forces Operation (JFO) Commander Volodymyr Kravchenko told UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine Osnat Lubrani at a meeting.

"Preparations are being made to pull forces from the entire contact line. The task has been set by the Ukrainian General Staff Chief, the Ukrainian Defense Minister, and the head of state. We are prepared to do that in order to improve the life of our citizens, but in the end, everything will depend on reciprocal actions of the opposite side," the JFO press service quoted Kravchenko as saying in a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday morning.

The JFO commander told Lubrani about the prospective creation of security zones around Zolote and Petrivske in the Luhansk region. "There were plans to create security zones in 2016 but they remained militarized. I am sure that would be our next step after Stanytsia Luhanska," Kravchenko said.

Ukraine, the self-proclaimed Donbas republics, and the OSCE signed the Framework Decision on Disengagement of Forces and Equipment in Donbas in September 2016. The document provides for a ceasefire, the pullout of heavy weapons from the contact line, a dialogue on reinstating socioeconomic relations between Kyiv and the breakaway territories, and a amendment of the Ukrainian Constitution to decentralize and formalize "the special status of certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions."

Ukrainian representative to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine (TCG) Leonid Kuchma said on September 13, 2019, he was certain that the TCG would approve final disengagement of forces and equipment in Petrivske and Zolote at its next meeting on September 18, and that it was possible to continue pulling forces from the contact line.