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Diplomat: Poroshenko may use Donbass tensions as excuse to call off presidential election

December 13, 2018, 11:23 UTC+3

In the coming days Kiev plans to stage an armed provocation on the line of contact, Zakharova warned

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Kiev is getting ready to stage a provocation in Donbass to justify an offensive operation, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday.

"According to available information, in the coming days Kiev plans to stage an armed provocation on the line of contact in order to take advantage of the martial law declared particularly in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions and launch a rapid offensive towards Mariupol to seize Azov Sea coastal areas currently controlled by Donetsk and reach the Russian border," Zaskharova said.

According to her, troops have been deployed to the area to carry out military tasks. "More troops have been sent there in the past several months, which is what the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has reported about many times," the Russian diplomat noted. "On December 1-7, OSCE monitors found 190 pieces of weapons banned by the Minsk Agreements stationed outside designated storage areas," she added.

Pyotr Poroshenko may use rising tensions in Donbass as an excuse to call off the presidential election scheduled to take place on March 31, 2019, the diplomat warned.

"According to the Kiev policymakers, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko desperately needs tensions [in Donbass] to escalate so that he can prevent his rating from collapsing, as it has been rapidly declining," she said. "In addition, rising tensions in Donbass will provide Poroshenko with an excuse to extend martial law and even call off the presidential election," Zakharova added.

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