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VIENNA, March 10. /TASS/. Kiev again disrupted the disengagement of forces and means scheduled for March 7 near Stanitsa Luganskaya, to the northeast of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said.
"As is usually the case, the Ukrainian side disrupted the disengagement of forces near Stanitsa Luganskaya scheduled for March 7," Lukashevich said at the OSCE Permanent Council’s meeting in Vienna on Thursday.
The diplomat stressed that the situation in the conflict zone in Donbass arouses serious concerns. "The Ukrainian authorities flatly refuse to stabilize the situation and to agree to establish ceasefire and to withdraw heavy weapons from the contact line," he said, adding that many proposals of Donetsk and Lugansk in this respect have been ignored.
Meanwhile, the shellings of territory controlled by self-defense militias, including critically important infrastructure facilities, continue. On February 24, a mortar shelling carried out by Ukraine’s forces damaged a chlorine warehouse at the Donetsk water filtering station, although there are no military targets of the militias in the area, he said.
"The goal of these shellings is to keep tensions and provoke retaliatory steps. We remember the calls of Western colleagues to agree on the mechanism of preventing these incidents. The best mechanism is to force Kiev to honor its commitments on pulling back heavy weapons from the contact line," Lukashevich said.
The Russian envoy said that according to the monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), there are significant Ukrainian forces near the contact line. This proves that Kiev has not given up its plans to take Donbass by force, he said.
On March 1, members of the Contact Group on the settlement in eastern Ukraine agreed on the disengagement of forces and means close to Stanitsa Luganskaya on March 7. This populated locality was one of the first so-called safety zones that were to be set up in Donbass in accordance with the agreements reached last September. However, to date, the parties have been able to secure the withdrawal of weapons only in two areas - close to the village of Petrovskoye (the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, DPR) and the city of Zolotoye (the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic, LPR). All attempts to set up a safety zone near Stanitsa Luganskaya have been futile.