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Kremlin: Kiev forces’ shelling of east another violation of Ukraine ceasefire

May 19, 2015, 14:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the Donetsk republic authorities, Ukrainian government forces have intensified military action against local militias over the past few days
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© AP Photo / Sergei Chuzavkov

MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. The Kremlin said on Tuesday Moscow considered Ukrainian military action in war-torn eastern territory another violation of ceasefire arrangements.

Dmitry Peskov, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, told reporters, "we have repeatedly talked about violations on the part of Ukraine, and there is nothing to add," when he was asked whether continuous shelling of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, including Donetsk airport, by Kiev forces contradicted the agreements signed in Minsk, Belarus, in February.

Peskov added that the situation in eastern Ukraine "is constantly escalating."

According to the Donetsk republic authorities, Ukrainian government forces have intensified military action against local militias over the past few days. Various heavy weapons are said to have been used by Kiev forces to shell residential areas and suburbs. Shelling has been recorded also around Donetsk airport.

Last week, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed that the airport, controlled by the militias of the self-proclaimed republic, would be recaptured. "I do not doubt that we will free the airport because it is our land. And we will restore the airport," he said.

Poroshenko’s statements drew sharp criticism not only from negotiators in Ukrainian peace talks, but also from the United States.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 12: "If indeed President Poroshenko is advocating a forceful engagement at this time, we would strongly urge him to think twice not to engage in this kind of activity. That would put Minsk in serious jeopardy and we would be very, very concerned of the consequences of what that kind of action would be."

Agreement to end fighting in east Ukraine was reached following marathon talks in the Belarusian capital between leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France on February 12.

Vladimir Putin, Petro Poroshenko, Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande announced after more than 16 hours of discussions that a ceasefire between Ukraine’s government forces and people’s militia would begin on February 15.

The deal also includes weapon withdrawals, prisoner exchanges and measures for long-term political settlement to the crisis.

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