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Russia, Germany committed to consolidating Donbass ceasefire

March 09, 2017, 12:59 UTC+3

Kiev pretends it has complied with all Minsk-2 obligations, the Russian top diplomat said

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Local residents seen by a house damaged in a shelling attack in Donetsk region

Local residents seen by a house damaged in a shelling attack in Donetsk region

© Alexander Kravchenko/TASS

MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. Russia and Germany are unanimous in believing that it is necessary to stop violations of the ceasefire in the Donbass region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday following talks with Germany’s top diplomat, Sigmar Gabriel.

"We exchanged our assessments of the situation. We take a similar stance on the main thing that it is necessary to stop ceasefire violations, it is necessary to comply with the Normandy format (Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany - TASS) and Contact Group agreements on the withdrawal of heavy weapons and the inadmissibility of failure to meet obligations to keep them at storage sites," Lavrov said.

"Just like Germany, we are committed to strengthening the role and enhancing the capabilities of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM). Russia favors increasing the number of personnel as much as it is required for the constant round-the-clock monitoring of the situation on the line of engagement and at heavy weapons storage sites," the Russian minister said.

Lavrov added that Sigmar Gabriel briefed him on the results of his visit to Ukraine in early March. "We also heard the story of our German counterparts following Sigmar Gabriel’s trip to Kiev, which he visited recently, and also travelled to the line of engagement," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"As far as I understood, we are unanimous that the current blockade of Donbass organized by representatives of the nationalist, if not Nazi battalions, is unacceptable. We urge the Ukrainian leadership to use all its capabilities to put an end to this blockade," Lavrov emphasized.

Kiev pretends it has complied with all Minsk-2 obligations, Lavrov added. "I don’t what to point fingers, but we hear what our Ukrainian neighbors are saying, how bellicose is Kiev’s rhetoric and how regularly the Ukrainian leadership is trying to present things as if only Russia must comply with the Minsk agreements, while Ukraine has allegedly fulfilled all," Lavrov said.

Moscow urges Kiev to stop blockade of Donbass, he said, adding that Russia is in favor of having more OSCE observers in Donbass.

"The current blockade of Donbass is unacceptable. We urge the Ukrainian leadership to do all in its power to stop this blockade," the diplomat said, adding that US involvement in implementation of Minsk accords would be useful.

"I am convinced that any US involvement in further efforts on the unconditional fulfillment of the Minsk accords would be rather useful," Lavrov said.He also said no conflict can be currently resolved without the United States.

Gabriel said that Germany is also urging the US to use its influence for the implementation of the Minsk accords.

"We want the Normandy Quartet not only to accompany but also to watch the implementation of Minsk [agreements]," Gabriel said, adding that he sees not alternative to these agreements in the Ukrainian conflict resolution.

"We are interested and I think Russia is also interested in the resolution of this conflict trough the fulfilment of the Minsk accords," the minister said.

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