9 December 2020 marks one year since the Paris Summit of the “Normandy Format” (N4) participating states’ heads of state and government.
Implementation of the agreements of the N4 leaders, as well as of the whole package of the Minsk Agreements, remain for Ukraine the basis for political-diplomatic settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict and restoration of peace in the Ukrainian Donbas.
In the time which passed since the Paris summit, Ukraine, with the active mediating role of Germany and France, put maximum efforts into finding viable ways of peaceful settlement of the conflict and the implementation of the Summit`s Common Agreed Conclusions of 9 December 2019.
Thanks to the intensification of work of the Trilateral Contact Group, an important consultative mechanism for the implementation of the Minsk Agreements, and the adoption in July 2020 of additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire, the security situation in the conflict zone has stabilized. This, in spite of continuing provocations by the armed formations of the Russian Federation, has led to a significant decrease in the number of lost human lives and damage to critical infrastructure.
As a result of the mutual releases of detainees carried out in December 2019 and April 2020, many of our fellow citizens were freed from captivity.
The Ukrainian side put forward important initiatives on further disengagement of forces and equipment, continuation of demining process and undertook other practical steps to ensure sustainable security environment and improve the overall humanitarian situation in the conflict zone.
The aforementioned Ukrainian initiatives, as well as proposals to launch next stages of the process of mutual release of conflict-related detainees, grant full and unconditional access of international organizations, above all the International Committee of the Red Cross, to all detained persons, ensure opening and proper functioning of crossing points along the line of contact, to alleviate the situation of civilians, till now remain without appropriate reaction from the Russian side.
Similarly, due to artificial obstruction of the work of the Trilateral Contact Group on the political track, there has been no progress in the consideration of Ukraine`s working proposals on implementation of the political aspects of the Paris Summit Common Agreed Conclusions of 9 December 2019.
Instead, we see the continuation of restrictions in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This includes restrictions of the freedom of movement as well as safe and secure access of international organizations, foremost the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, throughout the territory of Ukraine in order to fully implement the mandate, including access to the temporarily uncontrolled segment of the Ukrainian-Russian border.
At the same time, illegal crossings of the said border segment by Russian freight trains and truck convoys delivering weapons to the temporary occupied territory have become a routine practice. The OSCE SMM regularly informs on these cases in its reports.
Ukraine reaffirms its readiness to continue working in the framework of the “Normandie Format”, which remains important, relevant and valuable, as well as within the TCG, in order to ensure the implementation of the agreements reached by the leaders of the four countries and the realization of all agreed steps on conflict settlement.
Ukraine is grateful to Germany and France, as well as the OSCE, for their active mediating role in the conflict resolution and their efforts to bring back peace to the Ukrainian soil and restore sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
We call upon the Russian Federation to take all necessary measures for the continuation of work of the mentioned formats in order to implement all decisions taken at the level of the leaders of the four countries, and also to make practical steps to resolve the armed conflict on the basis of norms and principles of international law and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.