The Framework Agreement on the withdrawal of troops in villages of Stanitsa Luhanskaya, Zolotoye and Petrovskoye in Donetsk region was signed at the trilateral meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk on September 21st. Ukraine withdrew its troops in Zolotoye on October 1st, in Petrovskoye on October 7th, AFU are at the same positions in Stanitsa Luhanskaya today.
The reason for the impossibility of withdrawal is continued shelling of the village and positions of Ukrainian law enforcers. Given a series of statements by Ukrainian officials and military, no fundamental changes are expected in Stanitsa Luhanskaya in the near future.
According to the Presidential Commissioner for the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk regions Irina Gerashchenko, the Armed Forces of Ukraine should start withdrawal of forces in Stanitsa Luhanskaya only after a week of ceasefire.
"The military should stand the specified schedule and start withdrawal after weeks of ceasefire. Military hope that withdrawal of troops in Stanitsa will be held in the coming days," - said Gerashchenko two weeks ago, on October 10th.
Contrary to military’s expectations, attacks continue and the withdrawal isn’t planned. In addition, the idea of withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from Stanitsa Luhanskaya has a considerable amount of opponents who have some political weight and influence at the level of Luhansk region and the country as a whole.
For example, the initiative "from the bottom" is promoted by members of local Stanitsa Luhanskaya District Council. With the support of Union of ATO Combatants, Veterans and Disabled public organization, the District Council held a protest against the creation of a demilitarized zone on October 3rd. Later local officials submitted a statement to the regional governor Yuriy Garbuz and asked to prevent withdrawal of Ukrainian soldiers from the village.
The statement lists the social infrastructure objects that are at risk, as well as focus on the fact that the OSCE monitoring mission which will monitor the situation in the "security zone" can not guarantee protection of the civilian population.
"We ask you to define the situation in Stanitsa Luhanskaya in more detail and facilitate the implementation of the constitutional duty by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, namely: defense, protection of sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of our country," – says the officials’ statement.
Deputy Governor Yuriy Klimenko believes that the withdrawal of troops from Stanitsa Luhanskaya would endanger the life of ten thousand people: "The leaders of the so-called "LPR" in the controlled media say about the failure of the Minsk agreements by Ukraine, while shelling the positions of our troops with weapons banned by these agreements. In such a situation, to withdraw troops from Stanitsa Luhanskaya is like to give up our territory without fighting and endanger the lives of at least another 10 thousand people."
It is noted that the head of the region Yuriy Garbuz is an opponent to withdrawal of the AFU from Stanitsa Luhanskaya. Garbuz expressed his negative attitude towards the possibility of withdrawal on October 9th - the day when it became clear about the failure of the previously announced withdrawal. At the same time, the governor expressed confidence that the Ukrainian authorities would be able to perform the Framework Agreementand not to lose Stanitsa Luhanskaya without specifying, however, the actual reasons for such confidence.
MP Semen Semenchenko called persons who ordered the withdrawal of troops as criminals after visiting Stanitsa Luhanskaya. According to Semenchenko, now pro-Ukrainian residents of the village are threatened by supporters of the "Russian world".
"Children have got used that real Ukraine is here, grew up with this idea, were always near their defenders from the AFU. And then here you are. The phone calls, threats, we will cut you, Banderas. The photo shows the kindergarten remaining in the grey zone. Where will children study and on whose example? They will learn from luhandon subversive groups that will roam through the village like they do now in other "grey zones" that have not been captured yet? Settle your children here, then "withdraw", - assures the MP.
He also believes that the shelling in the case of withdrawal of Ukrainian troops will take place in closely located Valuyskoye and hospital that "no one knows why ended up right on the edge of the proposed location of new positions."
After visiting Stanitsa Luhanskaya, Semenchenko made several conclusions: people who give the order on withdrawal of troops illegally ... commit a crime and are in need of "urgent psychiatric care and treatment in a hospital."
Ex-governor of Luhansk region Georgiy Tuka took a very active part in the discussion of the problem of withdrawal of the AFU from Stanitsa Luhanskaya, taking the opposite position than Semenchenko and Garbuz.
Answering the question of Ukrainian journalists about the threat of losing control over the territories if withdrawal takes place, Tuka apparently forgot that only one Luhansk governor Genaddiy Moskal can smartly, neatly and cheerfully swear "in camera" and said: "F.cking bullsh.it and three exclamation marks! Only assholes who do not know who, where is withdrawn say it. Stupid f.cks."
According to Tuka, Ukraine is able to maintain control and influence in the village. However, residents of the village do not agree with Tuka, as well as a meaningful number of OstroV’s respondents in Stanitsa on possible loss of control of the situation by Ukrainian law enforcers causes positive emotions.
"They shoot nearly every day. At night, mostly. It flies here, flies there. I say that no one shot before Nazis came. Generally, both are stupid f..cks. Let it be the "LPR". Is there worse than here?" - says Stanitsa resident Semen, but when he learns that he speaks to Ukrainian journalist, he begins to stick to the peace-loving rhetoric and claims that he is not against Ukraine and "for the peace".
According to him, a great number of residents of occupied Luhansk try to go to the market in Stanitsa because "it is not worse there, but because the vegetables and meat taste better there."
Checkpoint of Ukrainian border guards in Stanitsa Luhanskaya collects a huge number of people every day. On the Ukrainian side dealers with huge bags, carts and cardboard boxes are not uncommon but regular. People bring tomatoes, peppers and salo to Luhansk.
"Have you seen our prices and therefore we come here?" - says resident of Luhansk Yelena representing herself as "an entrepreneur". According to the woman, you are not "chased for Stanitsa goods" on Luhansk markets. Yelena has been in the queue for more than two hours in order to bring three large shopping bags with vegetables to Luhansk. Over the queue you can hear Ukrainian radio where they are talking about the next violation of ceasefire by "LDPR" militants.
The queue is moving slowly, you can hardly hear the radio and the icy wind brings a lively conversation of people in the queue. Middle-aged man gives "a lesson" of history to grateful listeners, granting the warped and "adapted" quote by US Senator Huey Pierce Long to British politician Winston Churchill.
"Even Churchill said that fascism would revive in those countries, which had won it and fascists will accuse Russia of fascism," – says "historian" and surrounding women with gloomy faces nod doomly, saying that "it was like that and look what is going on now... "
The center of the village is not as crowded during the day as the checkpoint. Stanitsa residents are eager to share thoughts about the benefits for all in case of withdrawal of Ukrainian troops. Their eager for communication disappears after the word "journalist".
"Everyone wants to be left alone. And people live somehow in the "LPR" ... Of course, there are those who are strongly for Ukraine. They are not numerous, but they are there. If AFU leave, they will have a hard time. And it is not about LPR people but locals who are for Russia," - shares pensioner Pavel his thoughts. He believes that Putin is "a strong man and AFU are normal guys, but let them go home."
Meanwhile, militants are intensifying tactical groups along Bakhmutskaya route. According to the coordinator of the Information Resistance Dmitry Tymchuk, mortars and military equipment are being brought to the specified area. Ukrainian intelligence reports on demonstrative moving of the "LPR" equipment along the demarcation line near Stanitsa Luhanskaya, simulating the withdrawal of forces and as Irina Gerashchenko said, a week of ceasefire remains unattainable.
Ostap Gorodenko, OstroV