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Kiev tries to prevent Russian experts from monitoring situation in Donbass — ministry

The conditions for the presence of Russian officers from the Joint Center for [ceasefire] Control and Coordination in Ukraine have become more difficult, the Defense Ministry said

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Ukraine’s actions testify to its intention to exclude Russian specialists from the process of monitoring compliance with the ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

"Over the past few months, the conditions for the presence of Russian officers from the Joint Center for [ceasefire] Control and Coordination (JCCC) in Ukraine have become more difficult due to Ukrainian side’s efforts. They have become openly discriminatory in relation to our officers and apply to both the performance of their duties as part of the JCCC activities and daily living activities," the ministry stressed.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, "one gets the impression that the Ukrainian side is thus deliberately trying to prevent the Russian military servicemen in the JCCC from monitoring compliance with the Minsk agreements in southeastern Ukraine."

Ukraine’s actions

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the regulations approved by the Ukrainian JCCC chief, "the Russian officers’ freedom of movement in the building where they work and live in the city of Soledar has been restricted as much as possible." "According to the Ukrainian document, the Russian officers can move within the building only accompanied by or, to be more precise, escorted by members of the Ukrainian National Guard. They can only go outside for no more than 10 minutes at the end of each hour accompanied by National Guard members," the ministry explained.

The Russian Defense Ministry’s statement drew attention to permanent attempts "to block the Russian officers’ involvement in the activities the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission by all possible means. Ukraine, in particular, prevents our officers from travelling to inhabited communities to monitor compliance with the Minsk agreements under far-fetched pretexts."

"All that has become systematic, although our military servicemen were sent to the JCCC headquarters in Soledar at the request of Ukrainian Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko to provide assistance in resolving the crisis. Russian officers have properly performed their duties, often risking their lives, helping restore peace in southeastern Ukraine," the ministry noted.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier said at a meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council in Vienna that Kiev is doing the best it can to create unbearable conditions for the Russian officers in the JCCC, putting forward unacceptable and unrealistic demands and actually wants the center to cease to exist.

The decision on setting up the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) was made at the Contact Group meeting on October 2, 2014. The JCCC is made up of representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE whose task is to coordinate the Donbass truce processes and tackle the issues related to the de-escalation and stabilization of the situation in the region in accordance with the Minsk agreements.