Ukraine Day 967: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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Ukrainian volunteer Galina Odnorog reported on her Facebook page today that while OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) observers were in the area to check the fulfillment of the recent disengagement agreement, pledges to have “round the clock” presence were not kept. SMM workers were leaving their positions at 5 pm. Odnorog learned from the mission that orders from Kiev are for them only to work outside during daylight hours and after dark, only record what they hear from inside. Monitors themselves have been subjected to a number of attacks as they attempt to do their jobs.
Further Loss of Ukrainian Territory
Semyon Semyonchenko, the former commander of the Donbass Battalion and now a member of parliament from the Samopomich party claimed that the Trilateral Group’s agreement on disengagement would lead to further loss of Ukrainian territory, Gordonua.com reported (translation by The Interpreter):
“I was in Stanitsa Luganskaya recently and I can only say one thing. Those who decided to disengage forces right on the borders of Stanitsa Luganskaya need psychiatric help. Let them take their children there, so they would go to day care and schools in the ‘gray zone.’ This is a territory where enemy diversionary reconnaissance groups are operating, where their children will have to walk under the scope of the militants’ snipers. Let them suffer there two years waiting for the return of Ukraine. What was all this for if the forces are withdrawn?”
He said that only the president, prime minister and foreign minister were authorized to make international agreements and questioned the status of the Trilateral Group.
“I am prepared within the framework of the ‘Normady format’ to move forward to completely fulfill the Minsk agreements, otherwise this will be a frozen conflict. But for this it is necessary to conduct elections, it is necessary to support this process. And only upon completion of that process, the government, the Ukrainian government could return control over its borders. In other words, the Minsk process is a series of steps and it is necessary to observe each. Above all, this is a ceasefire, security, confiscation of weapons and then it is necessary to conduct elections.”
He added that Russia should influence “the heads of the eastern regions” to make the agreement work.
President Vladimir Putin cancelled a visit to France today after Hollande said he would only meet him to discuss Syria. Putin was to inaugurate a new Russian Orthodox Cathedral and visit a Russian art exhibit on October 19.
— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick