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Russian diplomat blames Kiev for military hardware pullback failure

February 06, 2017, 20:10 UTC+3

The Russian OSCE ambassador says extended Normandy Four format unlikely to anticipate settlement in Donbass

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© AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

MOSCOW, February 6./TASS/. The pullback of military hardware in Donbass on February 5 failed to take place due to Kiev’s acts of provocation, Russia’s OSCE Ambassador Alexander Lukashevich told Rossiya 24 television.

"Of course, there was a talk of the situation after the Contact Group’s decision on weapons pullback by February 5. Sadly, nothing was done because of continuing acts of provocation from Kiev that continues shelling and pulls in hardware," he said.

According to the diplomat, although the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission "fixes a lot of violations on both sides," provocative activities of the Ukrainian authorities cause a great damage to ceasefire efforts.

"The armed forces of Ukraine had clearly triggered a new spiral of tension in Donbass, to which a special report of the mission of January 30 pointed," the Russian permanent representative to the European security agency said.

"We will urge the OSCE Mission to be not a mere passive onlooker but to act as a mechanism pushing the parties towards fulfilling their liabilities," he said. "Even if it is not envisaged by the Mission’s mandate, but the very logic of its activities must be based on the necessity of not simply monitoring and verifying but also on the necessity of compelling the parties to implement their liabilities."

"This topic [of an OSCE police mission - TASS] is not on the OSCE agenda. It lost its topicality when no consensus was reached after certain consultations in 2016," he said. "More to it, I know it for sure from conversations with the heads of the OSCE monitoring mission that this idea is seen as very dangerous, both from the point of view of personnel security and prospects for promoting settlement."

He said that the Mission’s mandate is highly unlikely to be stopped soon. "I have no information that anyone is interested in closing this European, or even international, verification mechanism that is acting on behalf of European society and even broader," Lukashevich added.

Participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbass agreed on February 1 on the withdrawal of weapons and military hardware to the storage facilities by February 5.

Normandy format

He added that extended Normandy Four format unlikely to anticipate settlement in Donbass.

"Naturally, this topic is outside the OSCE agenda as the Normandy Four format is a higher degree of interaction between the four countries," he said. "It is an important instrument designed to help solve the problems of the Ukrainian settlement."

"As for possible extension of the Normandy format, I don’t think, and this is my personal opinion, that it might hasten settlement in any way, at least now," he said. "It’s more likely that the Ukrainian partners would seek to enhance their positions thanks to the West’s influence and would try to rebuild the entire logic of political settlement."

According to the Russian diplomat, the Normandy format has become one of the driving forces of the entire settlement process.

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