KYIV, 21 July 2021 – The Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Heidi Grau, made the following statement to the press after the regular meetings of the TCG and its Working Groups held through video conferencing:
“On the eve of the first anniversary of the agreement regarding additional measures to strengthen the ceasefire I would like to recall that, for several months, there has been considerable stabilization of the ceasefire along the line of contact as a result of this agreement. This is a proof that a comprehensive cessation of fire can be achieved provided that the sides demonstrate the necessary political will.
However, I have to note that the security situation continued to deteriorate over the recent months: in particular, the territory around the disengagement area near Zolote is turning into a hotspot. In addition, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission continues to record an increase in the use of heavy weapons.
Once again, the participants in the Security Working Group focused their attention primarily on wider conceptual issues. Repetition of well-known positions does not allow us to reach practical solutions.
Pending procedural issues again prevented the Political Working Group from holding a formal session. During the informal consultations, it was not possible to find a constructive solution and resume the work by overcoming political disagreements and to fulfil the tasks given by the TCG.
Participants in the Humanitarian Working Group exchanged updated lists of persons they are looking for. Besides, they discussed the “procedural clearance” of those already released. Once again, no progress was achieved regarding the full operation of new crossing points in Zolote and Shchastia of the Luhansk region. The last part of the discussion was devoted to the topic of missing persons.
The Economic Working Group discussed a wide range of themes: water supplies, pension payments as well as IAEA inspection in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Special attention was again paid to environmental issues. In particular, it was possible to advance discussions as regards the establishment of an expert group to investigate the situation in the flooded mines along the line of contact.
As Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group, I chaired my last meeting today. I would like to express an enormous gratitude to the Working Group Co-ordinators as well as to all of my colleagues in the TCG. Also, I would like to thank my entire staff for their great contribution to our common work.
My successor, Ambassador Mikko Kinnunen, will take up his post on 1 August. I wish him a productive and successful tenure.”