Donetsk, Jul 17 - DAN.  Minsk negotiators are mulling foreign specialists’ assistance in repairing Vodafone Ukraine networks in the Donbass Republics, Donetsk People’s Republic’s envoy to the Minsk talks Denis Pushilin said in an interview to the Donetsk News Agency.

“They are considering an option to enlist international contractors who will be able to ensure the functioning of the Vodafone network in the Republics. It’s one of the options. There’s an understanding, there’s a will, so the process will go on,” Pushilin said.

He noted that the entry of Vodafone Ukraine representatives in the Republics’ territory and the import of repair equipment was a complicated issue due to a number of technical problems, Ukrainian laws and security considerations.

Earlier reports said that the economic subgroup at the meeting in Minsk on July 11 agreed the measures to relaunch Vodafone services in the Donbass Republics. These include repairs of the communications line in the Elenovka settlement outside Donetsk, a DPR mobile network audit and supply of spares.

At the Contact Group meeting on May 16, the Donetsk People’s Republic presented its version of the road map to service the Vodafone network. The mobile operator’s representatives supported the project on May 30. It contains proposals on defining the legal status of the Ukrainian company’s maintenance staff, coordinating contactor organisations and working out procedures, repair schedules and electricity payment mechanism.

Donbass experienced Vodafone problems in mid-January 2018 after a trunk line accident in the Elenovka area. The network was down in the DPR for more than three and half months. The signal was restored on April 27. Vodafone has suffered regular outages since.*jk