During a working trip to Donbas, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga met with representatives of the OSCE SMM missions, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN system in Ukraine and the leadership of the Donetsk Regional State Administration.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy reminded that immediately after his election as President of Ukraine he made his first regional trip to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
"I have set the improvement of the humanitarian situation of the civilian population affected by hostilities as my unconditional priority," the President said.
The President of Ukraine noted that for three years it has been impossible to disengage forces and military equipment in the area of Stanytsia Luhanska due to constant armed provocations by militants.
"Last autumn, we finally reached an agreement on ceasefire, disengaged forces and heavy weapons, and built a new bridge crossing. These steps have greatly alleviated the suffering of local residents, who have been crossing the line of delimitation almost every day in extremely difficult conditions,” he said.
At the same time, Ukraine is not going to stop there.
“We are actively working with partners in the Normandy format and within the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk to open two new checkpoints in Zolote and Shchastia as soon as possible. Necessary mutual security guarantees for the implementation of works on the arrangement of these checkpoints are effective from July 10 this year," the President said.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the President of Switzerland and representatives of international organizations for their consistent support of Ukraine and fruitful cooperation in restoring peace in Donbas.
"Your selfless efforts and assistance play an important role for hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who found themselves in difficult conditions," the President of Ukraine stressed.
The participants noted the progress made over the past year to improve the humanitarian situation in the region, improve the security situation and establish peace. In particular, they stressed the importance of resuming dialogue in the Normandy format, agreeing on a complete and comprehensive ceasefire, defining areas of disengagement, returning detainees, opening checkpoints after the COVID-19 epidemic and rebuilding the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska, which is used by up to 10,000 people daily.
It was especially noted that the bridge in Stanytsia Luhanska, which was an emblem of human suffering, became a sign of the state leadership's commitment to peace.
The participants of the meeting discussed the challenges in Donbas and further steps to make life easier for local residents.
It was emphasized that international organizations in Ukraine are involved in such important processes in Donbas as providing medical care to local residents, restoring infrastructure, searching for missing persons, and assisting in overcoming the consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition, assistance to detainees is important.
The participants of the event thanked the President of Ukraine for the openness and constructive dialogue that helps in providing humanitarian aid. They also thanked the President of Switzerland for humanitarian projects that make life easier for the people of Donbas.
It was noted that Ukraine is doing a lot of work to integrate temporarily uncontrolled territories, and this process needs to be continued to make "people feel like home".
Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for assistance in rebuilding the infrastructure of Donbas. In particular, he stressed the importance of building hospitals in small settlements, which are currently not included in the general construction plan. In such medical institutions, residents will be able to receive targeted medical care. The President also noted that it is necessary to solve the problem of providing housing for internally displaced persons who have lost their home.