KIEV, November 5. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has expressed protest over Russian State Duma MP Alexei Zhuravlev’s visit to the Lugansk region’s territory uncontrolled by Kiev.
"We voice strong protest over the illegal visit by a representative of Russia’s legislature to a temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory in the Lugansk region, which took place in violation of the rules for crossing Ukraine’s state border," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry has described Zhuravlev’s trip to Donbass as "a gross violation by Russia of Ukraine’s state sovereignty and territorial integrity," vowing to check whether the lawmaker had visited the disengagement area in Zolotoye. Kiev has asked Russia to confirm the MP’s trip and clarify the goals of his visit to Donbass.
The Foreign Ministry noted that Zhuravlev had been banned from visiting Ukraine since June 21, 2018 under sanctions imposed by the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council.
Ukrainian media reports said Zhuravlev had visited Zolotoye in the Lugansk region, which is uncontrolled by Kiev in Donbass, and also published photos with the lawmaker.
The conflicting sides in Donbass launched the withdrawal of forces and hardware in Zolotoye on October 29. The disengagement of forces surprisingly began at Kiev’s initiative without any preliminary announcement after several violations of the deal by Ukraine. On Friday, the disengagement process at site number 2 in Zolotoye was completed. This was confirmed by both sides and also members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission.