The weather tested the strength of the inhabitants of the DPR this week. On the eve of one of the main Christian holidays Epiphany day, frosts and heavy precipitation came to the Republic. For example, in the capital over the weekend, more than 15 cm of snow fell. On some days, the thermometers reached 25 °C below zero. Despite the aesthetically attractive winter landscape, such weather is fraught with a number of risks and requires maximum mobilization of all elements of the state’s life support system. Thanks to the prompt, professional and well-coordinated work of emergency and public services, it was possible to avoid both a transport collapse and significant disruptions in the provision of public services. Thousands of housing workers and hundreds of special equipment were working 24/7 to deal with the effects of bad weather and prevent emergencies. In addition, according to the MES of the DPR, 157 heating locations were deployed in cities and districts of the Republic.
As a result, difficult weather conditions did not interfere with the traditional events for the day of the Epiphany. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DPR, festive services were held in 124 churches of the Republic. The services were visited by more than 60 thousand people in 36 settlements. 39 fonts were organized, in which more than 20 thousand inhabitants plunged.
On holidays like the Epiphany, more than ever, you want to think about good things, be generous and take care of your neighbor. For the residents of Donbas, this is the day when people with a special reliable pray for good and peace. It is symbolic that on the eve of the holiday, the Plenipotentiary Representatives of the DPR and LPR in the negotiations on the settlement of the conflict in Donbas, Natalia Nikonorova and Vladislav Deinogo, made a joint statement. The plenipotentiaries informed about the decision of the Republics to unilaterally transfer to the Ukrainian side some of the detained citizens of Ukraine. We are talking about persons who did not take part in the hostilities against the DPR and LPR and will not be able to harm Donbas and its inhabitants. The decision was made as a gesture of humanism and mercy.
It is noteworthy that the transfer of the detainees will take place through the mediation of the Ukrainian public, state and political figure Viktor Medvedchuk. This step is due to the complete inability to reach an agreement by the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities, who ignore any, even exclusively humanitarian, initiatives by the DPR and LPR. In turn, Viktor Medvedchuk, from the very beginning of hostilities in Donbas, has repeatedly shown a desire for constructive participation in the peaceful settlement of the conflict.
But official Kiev, apparently, does not need peace, as evidenced by a number of events this week. Thus, on January 21, the first in the new year meeting of the Contact Group for settlement the crisis in Donbas took place. During the conference, it became clear that, like last year, Ukraine intends to sabotage the negotiations. The dialogue was especially destructive in the part concerning political issues. The Ukrainian side continues to evade the discussion of the draft Roadmap for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in accordance with the Minsk agreements, presented by the Republics. Although today this is the only document on which there have been no objections either from Ukraine or from the mediators in the person of the OSCE and the Russian Federation.
It should be noted that starting this year, the Republics have decided to involve representatives of the Donbas public in the Minsk process. From the DPR, the delegation included the former Deputy Minister of Emergency Situations of Ukraine Vladislav Telichko, as well as journalist, blogger and public figure Maya Pirogova. The participation of public experts is extremely important for the formation of an objective picture of what is happening in the Donbas and countering Kiev’s insinuations.
Unfortunately, there is no progress in the discussion of issues related to security. Kiev systematically violates the open-ended ceasefire and disavowed the Measures of its control. According to the DPR Representative in the JCCC, in the first 20 days of this year alone, the AFU opened fire on our territory about 100 times. Almost 500 ordnances were fired, of which 70 were 82 and 120 mm mines prohibited by the Minsk agreements. This information is also confirmed in the OSCE SMM reports.
The achievement could be considered the fact that the parties managed to agree on the issue of repair and restoration work at the Maryinskaya gas distribution station. However, after DPR provided with additional security guarantees in the area, on January 21, Ukrainian armed formations fired twice the settlement of Staromykhailivka, located in close proximity to the site of the planned repair and restoration activities. As a result, three private houses were damaged. This fact cannot be regarded otherwise than as a provocation. That is, the Ukrainian side clearly demonstrates that any agreements with Donbas are not important for it.
In addition, according to the DPM DNR, as a result of enemy shelling in the Mariupol direction on January 21, two defenders of the Republic sustained injuries, one of whom died. Unfortunately, the above actions of Kiev can be interpreted as intentions to start a new round of escalation on the Contact line.
Interestingly, on the eve of the intensification of shelling, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde, who has headed the OSCE since 2021, visited Ukraine. On January 20, the new head of the Mission visited Donbas, where she stated that resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine is one of the organization’s priorities. In particular, she arrived at the Zolote checkpoint, located on the border of Ukraine and the LPR. At the same time, the DPR authorities sent a letter to Ann Linde with an invitation to visit the Republic, which would allow to make a more objective assessment of the situation and draw unbiased conclusions. So far, the invitation has remained unanswered. Nevertheless, there is hope that the head of the OSCE in her activities will be guided by the principles of neutrality and impartiality. And also will not allow the monopoly provision of information about the state of affairs in Donbas by Ukraine, which is pursuing an open policy of genocide not only in relation to Donbas, but also to the entire Russian-speaking population.
In this context, one more important event of the week cannot be missed. On January 16, the norm of the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as the state language” entered into force in Ukraine, according to which the entire service sector of the country switched to the Ukrainian language. That is, the Russian-speaking staff can now be officially complained about, for such a violation there is a fine.
The Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation regarded this fact as another example of the infringement of the rights of Russian and Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine, and also declared the need to discuss this topic at the platforms of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The DPR Ombudsman Daria Morozova supports the initiative of the Federation Council, stressing that the international community should give due assessment to the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and contribute to the restoration of the violated rights of the Russian-speaking population.
It is worth recalling that such a policy of forcible Ukrainization has become one of the key reasons for the conflict in Donbas, which has already claimed the lives of thousands of civilians. The most brutal example of the consequences of the forced imposition of Nazi ideology in the Donbas society is the tragedy that occurred on the morning of January 22, 2015 at the Donetskgormash public transport stop in the Leninsky district of Donetsk (Bosse housing development). Then the Ukrainian punishers inflicted a targeted artillery attack on the transport hub. 8 civilians were killed, 26 sustained injuries. Commemorative events were held in the Republic on the sixth anniversary of the shelling of Bosse. Daria Morozova, Human Rights Ombudsman in the DPR expresses sincere condolences to the families and friends of the victims, as well as words of support to fellow countrymen who suffered in this monstrous tragedy. Persons involved in war crimes in Donbas will not evade responsibility and will certainly be punished.
Since the beginning of 2021, the Ombudsman received 152 complaints.
All received complaints can be divided into nine categories: personal rights – 39 complaints, economic rights – 6 complaints, social rights – 39 complaints; guarantees of human rights in civil, administrative and criminal proceedings – 22 complaints; enforcement of human rights in penitentiary institutions –3 complaints; enforcement of rights in the field of education – 1 complaint; enforcement of rights in the field of healthcare – 8 complaints; enforcement of rights of mothers, children and families – 1 complaint, issues connected with the political and military situation in DPR – 33 complaints.
- Death toll, injuries to civilians and soldiers as a result of hostilities in the territory of the Donetsk People`s Republic
The DPR Ombudsman’s Office documents cases of violations of Donbas citizens’ rights by the Ukrainian side, including the right to life, personal integrity and freedom of movement.
Within the period between 16 and 22 January 2021, one serviceman sustained injuries.
Within the period between 1 January and 15 January 2021, in the territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic, 3 persons sustained injuries and traumas of varying severities as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine: 3 servicemen of the Republic and 0 civilians.
Within the period between 16 and 22 January 2021, in the territory of the Republic, there is no dead serviceman.
Within the period between 1 January and 22 January 2021, in the territory of the DPR, 1 serviceman of the Republic died as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine.
It should be noted that since the armed conflict began in the Donetsk People’s Republic, 4963 persons, including 90 children died.
Officially confirmed information on individuals who have been wounded since the beginning of the conflict continues to be reported to the Ombudsman’s Office in DPR.
- Register of the prisoners of war, missing soldiers and civilians
Based on the updated figures as of 22nd January 2021, there are about 102 people detained by the Ukrainian side.
There are 363 people on the list of missing persons.
- Register of displaced persons and affected citizens
At the time of armed conflict, the civilian population living in the zone of fighting and near the contact line is often affected. With the view to protect the human right to life and security of the person, and to provide assistance to victims as a result of armed aggression by Ukraine, social housing objects (dormitories, preventative clinics, health care centers).
With the coming into force of the Order of the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic No. 137 of 24.04.2018, Territorial commissions in cities and districts are now responsible for accommodating affected civilians. They work under the supervision of the Republican Commission on Resettlement of Affected Persons chaired by the DPR Human Rights Ombudsman.
There are currently 841 accommodation places in the Donetsk People’s Republic available for citizens of this category. 63 social housing objects have been opened in the territory of DPR. 55 of them operate, 8 of them are held in reserve. Since the beginning of the conflict, 6782 people, including 1508 children have been registered as persons affected as a result of the conflict. Currently, 1998 people live in social housing objects of the Donetsk People’s Republic, including 349 underage children, 4784 people live in the housing fund, including 1140 children.