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Russia’s OSCE envoy says Kiev’s actions in Donbass violate Minsk agreements

February 01, 2017, 12:25 UTC+3

The diplomat believes Kiev is trying to solve the conflict by using military force

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Ukrainian soldier in Avdiivka, Ukraine

Ukrainian soldier in Avdiivka, Ukraine

© AP Photo/Inna Varenytsia

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Kiev’s actions in Donbass violate the Minsk agreements which particularly aim at ensuring Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council. The text of his address has been published on the Russian foreign ministry’s website.

"This is a gross violation of Ukraine’s obligations under the Minsk agreements," he said. "Kiev is trying to solve the conflict by using military force. But we remember well what such ventures ended in before."

"At the same time, Lukashevich pointed out that the Minsk agreements "support Ukraine’s territorial integrity while the country’s authorities have been inflicting damage on it by taking dangerous steps."

The Russian diplomat once again called upon Ukraine to "completely stop military activities and abandon all attempts at seizing territory and shell the positions of the Donetsk militia as well as residential areas."

According to Lukashevich, violations of international humanitarian law and other crimes committed by the Ukrainian military have been recorded. "We are confident that those truly responsible for the crimes of the Ukrainian regime and radical nationalists in Donbass and in other parts of the country, particularly in Kiev and Odessa, will be brought to justice.

"Kiev’s strategy of seizing step by step, meter by meter a so-called ‘grey zone’ along the engagement line and the forward positions of Donetsk militias is being implemented systematically, as we have seen," he said. Lukashevich said that Russia had not yet heard EU countries’ representatives say anything about the impermissibility of seizing additional territories.

"Possibly this seizure meets your interests, sirs?" he speculated.

"The SMM data leave no doubt as to who initiated the clashes," the diplomat said. "The mission’s January 30 report provides all the details."

According to Lukashevich, "overnight to January 28, the SMM camera at the Oktyabrskaya mine recorded that an intense exchange of gunfire was preceded by a shot from the northwestern to the southeastern direction (that is, a shot was fired from Ukrainian army positions)." "The camera in Avdeevka registered an exchange of artillery fire that began with five shots from north to south (also from Ukrainian army positions)," the diplomat noted. "According to the SMM, the Ukrainian armed forces are also responsible for the exacerbation of the situation on the southern flank. Overnight to January 28, the camera in Shirokino registered 20 shots from the west in the eastern direction (again from the Ukrainian military’s positions), after which the hostilities began.".

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