“We hope that direct substantive consultations will kick off soon between Russian and Ukrainian border guards in order to agree parameters of Ukrainian border observers’ presence at Russian border-crossing points,” the top Russian diplomat said.
Lavrov said Moscow is ready to submit soon to the OSCE Permanent Council a draft resolution “authorizing the presence of OSCE monitors at Russian checkpoints, which will make it possible to ensure transparent control of non-use of these points with illegal purposes.”
“We hope that all our partners will support these initiatives. It goes without saying - and I want to specially emphasize it - that the invitation for Ukrainian border guards and OSCE observers is valid for the ceasefire period,” the Russian foreign minister said.
“We hope that the Russian president’s initiative will allow everyone on whom it depends to support and ensure the adoption of the decision to extend the period of ceasefire and truce,” he concluded.
Ukraine’s Channel 5 reported Monday that the country’s National Security and Defense Council is currently deciding on whether to end or extend the ceasefire in Ukraine’s embattled Southeast.
The Security Council said it will announce its decision by 22:00 (19:00 UTC), when the deadline for the truce declared by Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko expires.
Poroshenko, who had won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine and taken office on June 7, on June 27 extended by three days the weeklong ceasefire in Ukraine’s Southeast, which he unilaterally announced on June 20 and which was later supported by southeastern militias as well.
There have, however, been reports that the ceasefire has been repeatedly violated.
After a coup occurred in Ukraine in February, Crimea did not recognize the new leaders and seceded from the country following a referendum. Its example inspired residents of Ukraine’s southeast to defend their rights, and massive protests against the coup-imposed authorities erupted in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation involving armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation against the regions’ residents supporting federalization. Hundreds of people, including civilians, have been killed, buildings destroyed and tens of thousands forced to cross the border from Ukraine to Russia.
The Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which border on Russia, held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. South Ossetia has recognized the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR). No other countries have followed suit so far.