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STRASBOURG, January 25. /TASS/. The recent shelling of Ukraine’s Mariupol is another provocation of Ukraine’s military in order to accuse the militia once again and to fail the Minsk agreements on the eve of the PACE session, head of the State Duma’s committee on the CIS, a member of the Russian delegation to PACE Leonid Slutsky told reporters on Sunday.
“The events in Mariupol are in line with the explosion in Volnovakha and the crash of the Malaysian Boeing. The reports from OSCE prove the shells arrived from Ukraine’s military. However, they do not prefer to not them, putting things upside down, and again accusing Moscow,” he said.
The legislator said Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko and the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on this background had been discussing already how to make sanctions against Russian even tougher. “Here comes the key question - who benefits from failing the truce? Those who want to fail the process of restoring trust between Russia and Europe, those who are not interested in the negotiations of the “Normandy” or “Minsk” formats. Who is it? Washington’s leaders are.”
“The provocation in Mariupol was timed to coincide with negotiations, where the coming will be the PACE session opening in Strasbourg,” he said. “Kiev’s authorities here are only means not to allow improvement of relations between Europe and Russia.”
On January 24, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak announced additional force and munitions were taken towards Mariupol.
Head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Zakharchenko said the militia was not going to attack the city, adding he had ordered to neutralise positions of Kiev’s military to the east from Mariupol only as Kiev tried to make the militia responsible for its mistaken shelling of houses in the city. The shelling killed 30 people, and left almost 100 injured.
Another session of PACE is due in Strasbourg on January 26-28.