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Russia’s envoy calls on OSCE to react to Kiev’s constitutional referendum initiative

January 26, 2016, 21:10 UTC+3

On January 24, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for a referendum on the country’s new constitution

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Russia’s Permanent Representative at the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich

Russia’s Permanent Representative at the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich

© Ilya Pitalev/TASS Archive

MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. Kiev’s initiative to hold a constitutional referendum runs counter to the Minsk agreements and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) must react properly to this, Russia’s Permanent Representative at the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said on Tuesday.

"The Kiev authorities’ plans to hold a referendum on the constitution, I would like to repeat, run counter to their liabilities under the Minsk Package of Measures," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel. "So, we hope both the mission and representatives of the OSCE current chairperson-in-office in the Contact Group must provide a proper reaction to this blatant violation of the Ukrainian side’s liabilities."

On January 24, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for a referendum on the country’s new constitution. "It is high time for the Ukrainian people to have its say about a new Ukrainian constitution in a new European Ukraine," he said in a traditional weekly televised address. "No one but the people of Ukraine has the right to say what the basic law is to be. A constitutional referendum is a direct expression of rule of the people in a free and democratic country."

Yatsenyuk’s initiative was supported by the leader of Ukraine’s Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko. He said his political force would initiate a national referendum on Donbass’ status to be held in March.

OSCE registers pull-in of armaments toward contact line in Donbas

According to Alexander Lukashevich, the OSCE has registered a pull-in of armaments toward the disengagement line in Donbas, the risk of provocations remains.

"The mission has recently made rather alarming reports on the situation in the conflict zone. This is first of all connected with an entire range of measures to prepare and pull in heavy armaments by Ukrainian Armed Forces to a number of regions," Lukashevich said in an interview with the Rossiya 24 television channel.

"Ukraine’s military are potentially ready to make another ‘decisive’ attempt to change the balance of forces in its favor," he said.

OSCE inquires what made Ukraine recall its army officers from Joint Control and Coordination Center

The OSCE will try to establish the reason behind Ukraine’s decision to recall its officers from the Joint Control and Coordination Centre (JCCC), Russia’s Permanent Representative to OSCE went on to say.

As it became known on Tuesday, the Ukrainian military had received an order to withdraw from the JCCC almost in all the districts of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

"The very fact of this unexpected, even for the OSCE, withdrawal of the Ukrainian military from the JCCC, which used to be created on the initiative of the Ukrainian leadership to reduce tensions in the conflict zone, is adding an additional touch to information for meditation. For the moment, the OSCE mission is studying the possible reasons behind the decision. Perhaps, it will soon become clear what has caused this latest maneuver," Lukashevich stressed.

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