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BRUSSELS, February 2. /TASS/. NATO must put pressures on Kiev to make it end offensive operations in Donbass, Russia’s mission at NATO said in reply to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s call on Russia to use its influence on the "separatists" for achieving ceasefire.
"By urging Russia to use its influence on the militias NATO continues to ignore the real facts. How about calls upon Kiev for ending its offensive operations in Donbass and giving up the idea of a military solution of the conflict," the statement runs. The Russian mission said that "NATO’s strong political and practical support that continues to be promised to Ukraine merely encourages the party of warmongers."
Instead of this it is necessary to exert pressures on the authorities in Kiev for the sake of full and unconditional compliance with the Minsk Accords, for putting an end to provocations in Donbass and for complying with the existing ceasefire agreements," the statement runs.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has drawn the OSCE Special Monitoring Missions’ attention to the emergence of Ukrainian armor in Avdeyevka.
She posted a commentary in Facebook under a photo of two Ukrainian tanks in a residential area and the OSCE monitors’ vehicles parked nearby. The photograph was contributed by local residents.
"Some people’s job is to turn a blind eye on tanks," Zakharova said.
The past few days saw an aggravation along the line of engagement in Donbass. The Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Ukrainian forces last Sunday evening mounted an offensive in the area of Avdeyevka and the village of Yasinovataya only to be rolled back. Both sides sustained losses in manpower and materiel. There were civilian casualties. Homes and infrastructures were heavily damaged.
On Tuesday, February 1 the Contact Group for a settlement of the conflict in the east of Ukraine met in session in Minsk to demand both sides observe ceasefire and pull back weapons and military equipment from the line of engagement to their original locations by February 5.