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Kiev keeps mining Donbass in defiance of Contact Group’s decision — diplomat

June 02, 0:03 UTC+3 VIENNA

OSCE observers stress the danger of having Ukrainian side’s armaments in combat readiness in the security zone

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VIENNA, June 1. /TASS/. Kiev troops continue mining Donbass despite last year’s decision of the Trilateral Contact Group on mine clearance, the Russian OSCE ambassador said on Thursday.

"Despite the decision of the Contact Group on mine clearance of March 2, 2016, as well as the letter of Special Monitoring Mission chief Ertugrul Apakan of May 5, 2017, Ukrainian troops continue mining Donbass," Russia’s permanent representative to the European security agency, Alexander Lukashevich, said.

"On May 24, (OSCE) observers spotted three military trucks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces traveling in Severodonetsk, each of them carrying 50 anti-tank mines as well as three motor-drawn mine-layers designed for mechanical planting of non-controlled and command detonated mines," he told a session of the OSCE’s Permanent Council.

He stressed that while observers fix military trucks of the Ukrainian armed forces moving with anti-tank mines, mine clearance work is in progress on the other side of the line of contact.

Kiev ready for offensive

Lukashevich also reiterated that OSCE observers stress the danger of having Ukrainian side’s armaments in combat readiness "in the security zone". "Mobilization of military hardware right outside pullback lines testifies to readiness of the Ukrainian armed forces to any moment launch full-scale warfare," he said.

"In its weekly report of May 24, the Special Monitoring Mission warned about the danger of armaments in combat readiness condition situated on the border of the so-called security zone," the Russian diplomat noted. "Under the reports for May 22-29, the Ukrainian Armed Forces had deployed more than 70 units of military hardware within a two-hour distance from the line of contact," he stressed.

On April 28, Ertugrul Apakan reported to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna via a video link on the situation in Ukraine after an observer patrol had hit a mine, and emphasized a need to take concrete moves on the issue of the presence of banned kind of arms, mines and unexploded ammunition in Donbass. He demanded from the parties to the conflict to remove all mines in the security zone, as they hinder OSCE efforts to save the lives of civilians.

Contact Group’s agreement on mine clearance

The parties to the conflict in the Donbass region should map and fence off the mine fields, OSCE envoy Martin Sajdik said following a March 2, 2016 meeting of the Contact Group on the settlement in eastern Ukraine.

"The security working group met for two days to discuss the issues of firing exercises and mine clearance. I am glad to inform you about the signing of (the documents) on these two decisions," he said.

According to Sajdik, the first agreement stipulates that "the Ukrainian armed forces and the militia will map and fence off the mine fields until March 31."

"These areas are in close proximity to the checkpoints, that is, the places of entry and exit of civilians and along the roads leading to these checkpoints," he said.

Sajdik also noted that "the parties had pledged to conduct information and explanatory work among the civilian population regarding mine threat and the related risks.".

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