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MOSCOW, February 18. /TASS/. The situation around Debaltsevo can have only a negotiated settlement, Russia’s OSCE envoy Andrey Kelin said at a special meeting of the organization’s permanent council. A transcript of his statement has been placed on the Foreign Ministry’s website.
"According to information available at this point militias near Luhansk have begun to pull back heavy armaments," Kelin said. "Militias’ representatives in Donetsk have confirmed they are ready to pull back weapons, if the Ukrainian forces do so, too."
Moscow is concerned about "continued attempts by some Ukrainian units involved in the so-called ‘anti-terrorist’ crackdown to go ahead with combat operations with the use of heavy armaments and artillery in defiance of Kiev’s orders. Regrettably, clashes around Debaltsevo are continuing, there have been reports about Ukrainian forces’ sporadic bombardments of some communities, such as Gorlovka and Zorinsk (on February 16 they were attacked with Uragan and Grad multiple rocket launchers)."
"Of course, we are concerned over what is happening in Debaltsevo. Nobody is happy about that, but we are unlikely to resolve the affair, if we try to place the responsibility on each other. There must be talks."
"All parties must cease fire at once and immediately begin the implementation of the next steps mentioned in the package of measures in the established fashion," he said.
Russia calls on representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk to strictly observe the assumed obligations, Kelin went on to say.
"We call on all the sides of the Ukrainian internal conflict — representatives of Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk — to strictly observe the assumed obligations," Kelin said at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council.
"The implementation of the peace agreements must be comprehensive and structured, taking into account the whole set of measures agreed in Minsk," the diplomat said. "The Minsk package should not be divided into the ‘narrow’ parts as somebody would like. It is necessary to focus on the key issues in the context of the internal Ukrainian conflict settlement — the constitutional reform, national dialogue, socio-economic restoration of Donbas," he said.
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODHIR) of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is ready to monitor elections in Donbas, Russia’s Ambassador to OSCE said.
"We note the readiness of OSCE ODHIR for monitoring the election in Donbas as soon as all aspects of organizing and holding them are discussed and agreed upon," the ambassador noted.
The success depends on the unbiased work of observers, Kelin said. "The success of political settlement in Ukraine depends on how qualified and unbiased the work of observers is," the diplomat said. "It is necessary to take into consideration the fact that many people had to leave the conflict zone, and most of them ended up in other Ukrainian regions or abroad," he added.