03 February 2017

Unfortunately, the "Avdeevka crisis" continued yesterday. It continued in spite of the agreements and guarantees of a cease-fire. The agreements were broken. They were broken by both parties: Avdeevka, Donetsk and Makeevka all suffered from severe shelling where volley fire systems, large-caliber artillery and tanks prohibited by the Minsk Agreements were used. Yesterday, people were killed again. A lot of people. On both sides of the demarcation line, Ukrainian civilians died, houses, schools and medical facilities were left in ruins. There is a simple explanation for this nightmare – for many of those responsible for decision-making, this war is more profitable than peace. And such people are from both sides.

It is time to stop, it is time to put an end to the bloodshed, it is time to stop building political careers and making profits by using hatred, anger, suffering and human woe. Ukraine needs PEACE! Donbass needs PEACE! We all need PEACE!

And peace is achievable. It is only about putting aside commercial and political interests and doing everything possible to implement the protocols of the Minsk Agreements as soon as possible. As long as the Minsk Agreements are not being implemented, crises like the one in Avdeevka will be repeated.

Tens of thousands of heavily armed people stand against each other and it is unrealistic to guarantee that any, even minor, confrontation will not grow into another full-scale escalation.

There is nothing to prevent the Ukrainian Parliament from voting for the entire political portion of the Minsk Agreements, including constitutional reform; from voting even with a delayed implementation date. By doing so they will demonstrate a real intention, and commitment, to settle the conflict through peaceful methods, rather than a desire to wait for an illusive opportunity to implement the "Croatian scenario".

We, the Opposition, submitted all the necessary legislative initiatives to the Parliament. They just need to be discussed, brought to the debating chamber and voted for. After that, we need to sit down together and determine how to ensure implementation of all the Minsk procedures as well as their transparency. If this Parliament is not ready to implement the agreements, if saving of the coalition and its narrow electoral interests are more important than human lives, this Parliament should be dissolved and this government should be changed.

At the same time, all those politicians who call for Ukraine's withdrawal from the Minsk process, all those who attempt to sabotage it, should be sanctioned as opponents of a peaceful settlement and representatives of the "Party of War".

Finally, if our team in the trilateral negotiation group is not able to find a compromise and to negotiate, then we need to replace some, or all, of its members, and find skilled negotiators.

Obviously, the President must play a key role in all these matters: in fact, play the key role and take primary responsibility. I want to remind Mr Poroshenko that almost three years ago he promised to end the war in two weeks, and that is why he received unprecedented support at the time. Almost three years have passed and people are still dying in Donbass.

Petro Poroshenko, keep your promise, and stop the war! This is entirely within your power. Demonstrate your political will. Right now everything needs to be done to stop the shelling and return to the question of immediate disengagement of the parties. It`s time to walk the talk.

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