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MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Ukrainian media reports that Moscow is ready to return control over its borders with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics (DPR and LPR) to Kiev on a priority basis are wrong, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told the Profile magazine in an interview published on Monday.
"Minsk Package of measures clearly states that Ukrainian control over the corresponding part of the Ukrainian-Russian border may be restored only after the completion of comprehensive settlement of the crisis," Karasin said.
He noted that in order to settle the crisis, it is necessary "to coordinate details with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk in the framework of the Contact Group of all measures envisaged by the law ‘On special order of local government in certain districts of Donetsk and Lugansk regions’."
"We firmly stood by and will continue to stand by the necessity to strictly implement these requirements in the sequence enshrined in Minsk," he added.
Russia insists on lifting Kiev’s blockade on the territories of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics (DPR and LPR) in Ukraine’s south-eastern Donbass region and restoring full social and economic relations with them in accordance with the Minsk agreements, Russian State Secretary, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with the Profil magazine posted on the ministry’s website on Monday.
"The Russian side has been providing diversified assistance to the population of Donbass that is in the grip of the rigid social and economic blockade imposed by Kiev," the diplomat said. "This work is coordinated by the Interdepartmental Commission for the provision of humanitarian support to the affected areas of Donetsk and Lugansk. It considers the whole range of issues of practical assistance in establishing a normal life there, including restoration of infrastructure facilities and industrial enterprises damaged during hostilities."
According to Karasin, Russia has sent 48 humanitarian convoys to the region that have delivered more than 58,000 tons of cargo, including food products, medicines, construction materials, diesel generators and fuel and lubricants.
"Under the existing contract with Ukraine’s Naftogaz, Russia’s company Gazprom continues to supply natural gas to Donbass to meet the needs of the population and the real sector of the economy," Karasin said. In 2015, the amount of gas supplied to the southeast of Ukraine exceeded $256 million."
"High-technology medical care is provided to Donbass residents, including seriously ill children," the deputy foreign minister said. "Russian regions and non-governmental organizations are also actively involved in the humanitarian efforts."
"Both in the corresponding contacts and within the framework of the Contact Group we continue to insist on lifting Kiev’s blockade on these territories and on restoring full-fledged social and economic relations with them as stipulated in the Minsk agreements", Karasin said.
Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in the area. Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements.
The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass. The Package, earlier agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) envisioned an overwhelming cessation of fire and withdrawal of heavy armaments to create a security area in the region at least 50 kilometers wide.
In line with the agreement reached at talks in Minsk, from September 1, 2015 there should have been a complete cessation of fire at the disengagement line in Donbass. However, the Defense Ministry of the Donetsk People’s Republic has registered an increased number of shelling instances over the past few months. At talks in Minsk on December 22, the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass reached a joint decision to establish from 00:00 December 23, 2015 a complete and unconditional ceasefire - the sixth since the conflict started.