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Moscow denounces EU’s military training initiative for Ukrainian troops — diplomat

According to Alexander Grushko, further proof of the West’s chain of intentions to escalate tensions is its programs of military assistance to Ukraine on behalf of NATO and the EU

MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Moscow is against the European Union’s initiative on providing a military training mission for Ukrainian troops, yet it is not surprised at the move nonetheless, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Monday.

"Moscow certainly takes a negative stance on it," Grushko told journalists. "We view it negatively [the initiative], but we are not surprised because, if we look at the course starting from the coup in Kiev, we can see that the policy on Ukraine had been aimed at aggravating and escalating tensions."

According to Grushko, further proof of the West’s chain of intentions to escalate tensions is its programs of military assistance to Ukraine on behalf of NATO and the EU.

"It is contradictory to all statements that we hear from various [countries’] capitals about the need to search for ways of negotiating a solution and launching talks," the diplomat noted.

"In fact, the West did nothing when it had a chance to resolve the interior Ukrainian conflict based on the Minsk Accords. It did nothing to persuade Kiev to follow its obligations under the Minsk Accords and, on the contrary, kept Kiev in their comfort zone," Grushko added.

An internal armed conflict with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which declared their independence, had been underway in Donbass since 2014. In order to settle it, the Minsk Accords were signed back in February 2015 with the direct participation of the Normandy Four leaders (Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine).

Developments in Ukraine

The situation along the line of engagement in Donbass escalated on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) reported the most massive bombardments by the Ukrainian military back then, which damaged civilian infrastructure and caused civilian casualties.

On February 21, President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders. Moscow recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions as of the beginning of 2014.

Russian President Putin announced on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics for assistance he had decided to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The DPR and the LPR launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.

From September 23 to September 27, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic as well as the Kherson Region and the Zaporozhye Region held a referendum where the majority of voters opted to join Russia.

On September 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the DPR, the LPR, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions signed treaties on their accession to Russia. Later, the State Duma and the Federation Council (the lower and upper houses of Russia’s parliament) approved legislation on ratifying these treaties, as well as federal constitutional laws on the accession of the four regions to Russia.