Donbas conflict among priorities of Poland's OSCE presidency - dep FM

The Polish deputy foreign minister has said the conflict in Donbas would remain high on the agenda of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as the country prepares to take over the chairmanship of the organisation next year.

During his four-day Ukrainian visit, which began on Thursday, Marcin Przydacz visited the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine where for months, since 2014, there have been clashes between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatist rebels.

"The Ukrainian-Russian conflict in Donbas was, is and will be high on the agenda of OSCE", Przydacz said. "Therefore, Polish diplomacy is naturally preparing for this role, wanting to get to know the current situation better, and this can only be done through direct presence and talks" he added.

While in Donbas, Przydacz visited a checkpoint on the demarcation line at the town of Zolote, met with observers from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) working in the region as well as Ukrainian soldiers and commanders.

He also met with the head of OSCE SMM Yasar Cevik about the challenges facing the mission where Poles are one of the largest groups of observers.

Przydacz also talked to the people of Donbas about what type of help they needed.

"We would like, through various projects, (...) to slightly improve the living condition of people in eastern Ukraine, especially those living directly on the battlelines" he said.

During his visit to Ukraine, the Polish deputy foreign minister also met with his Ukrainian counterpart Vasyl Bodnar and the Deputy Head of the Ukrainian President’s Office Andriy Sybiha.

"This Polish-Ukrainian dialogue is very important at various levels. We discussed both political and security issues, we spoke about Nord Stream 2, a project which is poor for the security of Central Europe, and about our possible coordinated actions," Przydacz said.

Poland will take over the one-year OSCE rotating presidency on January 1, 2022. Poland held the organisation's chairmanship for the first time in 1998.