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BRUSSELS, January 25. /TASS/. EU convenes an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the member-states on January 29 to discuss the recent hike of tensions in Ukraine, the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini said on Sunday.
The situation in eastern Ukraine - and particularly on the territory of the much-troubled war-torn Donetsk region - aggravated sharply at the beginning of last week following several months of a relative lull when the pro-Kiev military forces launched an operation around what is left of the former Donetsk international airport.
Simultaneously with combat actions in the area adjoining the airport, Ukrainian pro-government forces started artillery shelling of the urban districts in Donetsk, which until very recently was home to almost a million people.
On Sunday, an amassed artillery strike was delivered at a residential area in the city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. It took away the lives of thirty peaceful civilians and left almost a hundred people wounded.
Members of the monitoring mission of the European security organization OSCE who visited the site of shelling said fire had most apparently been delivered from Grad and Uragan multiple rocket launchers from the east and/or northeast.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who had a telephone conversation with Federica Mogherini earlier on Sunday, stressed the importance of an unbiased investigation of the recent artillery strikes at Donetsk and Mariupol with the closest possible engagement on the part of the OSCE.
As they discussed the further situation in Ukraine, Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s assessment of the situation as a straightforward result of Kiev’s line at avoiding direct dialogue with the leaderships of self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics on practical implementation of the September 2014 Minsk accords and at suppressing insurrection in the southeast of the country by force.
“Minister Lavrov said that had the Kiev authorities accepted the proposal on an immediate withdrawal of heavy armaments from the line of disengagement spelt out by the September 19 Minsk Memorandum - and Russian President Vladimir Putin made it on January 15 - the tragedies in Volnovakha, Donetsk and Mariupol would have been averted but instead of this the Kiev authorities set their sights on a further militarization, declared new waves of army drafting and gave orders to intensify armed operations,” the Russian Foreign said in a comment on the conversation between Lavrov and Mogherini.
Still, Lavrov expressed the hope that the EU would refrain from conniving at this course, which was absolutely destructive for Ukraine, and would force the Kiev authorities to agree to the start of a full-fledged political settlement process.