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Moscow urges Croatia, other countries to stop mercenaries’ involvement in Ukraine

February 12, 2015, 17:22 UTC+3
Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister confirmed in a statement to the media that Croatian soldiers were fighting in the Ukrainian army
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© AP Photo/Petr David Josek

MOSCOW, February 12. /TASS/. Moscow wants to remind Croatia, whose citizens are fighting in the Ukrainian army, that a new peace agreement reached in Minsk calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Ukraine, the Russian foreign ministry said on Thursday.

Moscow is concerned and surprised that Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Vesna Pusic confirmed in a statement to the media that Croatian soldiers were fighting in the Ukrainian army, the ministry said in a statement, noting that the legitimacy of Croats’ involvement had not been called into question.

Media reported earlier dozens of Croats had joined the Azov volunteer punitive battalion. Half of its soldiers were foreigners, according to the Croatian News Agency HINA.

"It is remarkable that statements about European nationals’ involvement in Kiev forces’ punitive operations are being made together with unfounded accusations of Russian soldiers' presence in Ukrainian territory," the Russian ministry said.

"Participation of foreign mercenaries, including Croatian, in Ukraine’s internal conflict is unacceptable and only aggravates the situation," it said.

"We want Croatian authorities to turn particular attention to decisions taken by the Contact Group [on Ukraine] in Minsk today, on February 12, on a package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, particularly on the withdrawal of all foreign armed units, military equipment, and also mercenaries from Ukrainian territory under OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] observation and disarmament of all illegal groups," the ministry added.

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