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Moscow urges OSCE to speed up work on Donbass bombardments report — envoy

November 07, 2016, 12:47 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Donbass security situation arouses Moscow’s serious concern

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© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 7. /TASS/. Russia is urging the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to speed up work on a report on bombardments of communities in Donbass during the conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said at a meeting of organization’s Permanent Council in Vienna. The full text of his statement has been placed on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

He said the security situation in southeastern Ukraine aroused Moscow’s serious concern.

"The Ukrainian armed forces continue shelling civilian facilities," Lukashevich said. "In the evening of October 27 a massive bombardment of Makeyevka claimed the lives of two civilians and caused suffering and injuries to a dozen others. The chief doctor of the local hospital was killed and a child injured."

As OSCE SMM monitors have found, the bombardment was carried out with the use of heavy artillery pieces from the Ukrainian army’s positions in Avdeyevka.

"There were no military facilities anywhere near," Lukashevich said. "In a video conference by Contact Group members on October 29 Kiev once again staged ‘old song and dance’, claiming the militias were attacking themselves."

"We do hope that the Contact Group’s working subgroup for the investigation of the Makeyevka incident will identify those responsible for that war crime and bring them to justice," he said.

"The overall number of ceasefire violations is growing," Lukashevich said. "The Ukrainian military personnel no longer even try to hide from SMM monitors the way they did just recently," he stated.

According to the mission’s reports, the Ukrainian forces bombarded mostly territories held by the militias.

"Last weekend a camera in Shirokino registered 124 artillery salvos from the west," Lukashevich said. "Observers saw Ukrainian military conduct fire from Lomakino (21 artillery salvos), Lebedinskoye (35 salvos) and Orlovskoye (23 salvos).

"In a situation like this we are urging the SMM to speed up work on the general report on bombardments of communities in Donbass and the destruction of civilian infrastructure caused during the whole period of the conflict," Lukashevich said.

Military hardware in Donbass security area

According to the diplomat, the Ukrainian armed forces are concentrating military hardware in the security zone in southeast Ukraine.

"We’re drawing attention to the amassment of military hardware in the security zone," the Russian diplomat said.

From October 24 to November 1, observers detected 86 artillery systems of the Ukrainian armed forces in populated areas in southeast Ukraine controlled by pro-Kiev forces, he said.

Also, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission found over 80 Ukrainian armored personnel carriers (APCs) in the security zone over the week, the diplomat said.

"Regular deliveries of the Ukrainian military hardware by railway through Konstantinovka (the Donetsk Region) and Rubezhnoye (the Lugansk Region) were registered," Lukashevich said.

"According to data of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission for October 24-31, over 200 pieces of Ukrainian armaments are amassed immediately beyond the line of weaponry withdrawal," the Russian diplomat said.

Amid this background, "the number of restrictions in the freedom of movement of observers in the security zone has increased sharply on the territory controlled by the Ukrainian armed forces," Lukashevich said.

"The Special Monitoring Mission states that lately most obstacles for observers outside the areas of disengagement have been caused by Ukrainian forces," the Russian diplomat said.

"I want to reply to the colleagues who want the Special Monitoring Mission to report about the considerable movements of military hardware and armaments that it is enough to establish close monitoring of the ways of supplies for the Ukrainian armed forces’ grouping in the immediate vicinity of the security zone and you’ll have such data in abundance. These data are available already now but simply somehow no due attention is paid to them," Lukashevich said.

"I want to draw the attention of respected American and Ukrainian partners who are interested only in the freedom of the movements of the Special Monitoring Mission near the Ukrainian-Russian border that everything is precisely in order there," Russia’s OSCE envoy said.

"Over the past week, from October 24 to November 1, the observers visited the checkpoints Izvarino, Marinovka, Uspenka, Ulyanovskoye, Dolzhansky, Chervonopartizansk, Novoborovitsy and Krasnodarsky 15 times, without experiencing any single restriction," the Russian diplomat said.

"The observers have not registered any military movements at the border, as has been the case in the past two and a half years," Russia’s OSCE envoy stressed.

Humanitarian blockade

The official also said that Kiev should halt the humanitarian blockade of citizens in Ukraine’s southeast and start meeting its social commitments.

"There is no alternative to the Minsk agreements for peaceful settlement of the conflict," the diplomat said. "Unfortunately, there are forces in Ukraine that are not interested in the settlement. The reasons may be different - demands from outside, wish to get extra revenues from shady corruption schemes or nationalist intoxication," he said.

Those who indeed seek peace in Ukraine need to have an impact on the situation to ensure the victory of sound forces that place the well-being of citizens above their own ambitions, the diplomat said. "It’s time to collect the stones that you have thrown."

"There is the need to consistently move towards peaceful settlement based on the Minsk Package of Measures in full," Lukashevich said, adding that Moscow backs the idea of drawing up a roadmap on the further steps.

The diplomat also called to ensure the implementation of a formula proposed by German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on the law on a special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. "We call on Kiev to unblock the implementation of the law on amnesty and start focusing on the constitutional reform that will take into account the interests of the Donbass citizens," Lukashevich said.

"We warn of the need to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe of citizens in the southeast and the further split of this region from the rest of Ukraine," he added. "To this end, Kiev needs to abandon the humanitarian blockade and start meeting its state social commitments."

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