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Russia blasts Kiev’s attempts to solve conflict in Ukraine’s Southeast by force

July 04, 2014, 22:20 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, July 04, /ITAR-TASS/. Kiev’s attempts to solve the situation in Ukraine’s Southeast by force run counter to provisions of the Berlin declaration of the top diplomats of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday.

“We are forced to attract attention to new tragic facts of the past days in the east of Ukraine,” the ministry said commenting on a new escalation of combat operations in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast. “Ukraine’s security structures have stepped up their combat operation that has resulted in human deaths and destructions.”

“Kiev’s continuing attempts to resolve problems exclusively by military means, through ultimatums and by making new demands, contradict provisions of the Berlin declaration of the German, Russia, Ukrainian and French foreign ministers of July 2 and only lead to bloodshed and new human losses,” it said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his German, French and Ukrainian counterparts held talks on Ukraine in the German capital Berlin on Wednesday.

Lavrov said after the talks that Russia welcomes the intention of Germany, France and Ukraine to support the decision of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send OSCE observers to Russian checkpoints on the border with Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Friday “tough rhetoric of the Ukrainian authorities and activation of combat operations in the east of Ukraine can be observed after the July 3 phone conversations between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and US Vice President Joseph Biden, as well as between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin and British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs William Hague that in essence supported Kiev’s actions.”

Biden and Poroshenko had a phone conversation on Thursday. Biden said the United States is “prepared to impose further costs on Russia” should Moscow fail to withdraw “its ongoing support for the separatists,” which, the US claims, includes “the provision of heavy weapons and materiel across the border.”

The West calls federalization supporters in Ukraine’s war-torn Southeast “separatists”.

Western nations have subjected some Russian officials and companies to sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, following Crimea’s incorporation by Russia in mid-March.

The West, led by the United States, has repeatedly threatened Russia with further punitive measures, including economic ones, for incorporation of Crimea and what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests of federalization supporters in Ukraine’s Southeast.

Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western allegations that it could in any way be involved in protests in the Southeast of Ukraine, which started after Crimea refused to recognize the authorities propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February and reunified with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.

Moscow has rejected the threats of broader sanctions saying the language of penalties is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries.

The Russian foreign policy department also expressed bewilderment at “an impudent comment by the British Foreign Office that contains repeated unsubstantiated accusations targeted at Russia of alleged weapons supplies to militiamen.”

“We have also paid attention to conclusions of the Stratfor analysis agency, which admit that the Ukrainian army hits stationary targets while using intelligence data obtained from Western partners.

A legitimate question arises: who of Ukraine’s foreign partners is really involved in the conflict in the country’s east?” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry enumerated tragic examples that “show such irresponsible policy of the Ukrainian authorities and their Western sponsors only lead to new losses and suffering of the civilian population.”

The examples include cases when damage was caused to the social infrastructure of Ukraine’s eastern regions, as well as human losses, including deaths of children. The ministry cited Russia’s children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov as saying 20 civilians, including two children, were killed over the past 24 hours in southeastern Ukraine.

During fierce fighting in the city of Nikolayevka on July 3, Ukraine’s military used the Grad and Smerch multiple launch rocket systems. As a result, the Nikolayevka thermal power plant was destroyed, artillery shells hit a school and a kindergarten and a few multistory buildings were destroyed.

Local residents are hiding in basements, and it is impossible to leave the city. Buses and cars with refugees on Thursday came under fire near the Izvarino border-crossing point on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“We are calling on the Ukrainian authorities again to stop shelling civilian facilities and residential quarters and finally think of how to preserve the lives of ordinary people,” the Russian Foreign Ministry concluded.

Kiev's punitive operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine's Southeast, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation, has killed hundreds of people, destroyed buildings and forced tens of thousands to flee Ukraine to Russia.

Fierce military attacks of the pro-Kiev forces on the country’s southeastern regions resumed after President Petro Poroshenko, who had been elected in late May and taken office on June 7, ended the 10-day ceasefire in the Southeast on Monday. When the truce was in place, there were reports that it was repeatedly violated by Kiev.

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