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Truce needed throughout south-eastern Ukraine, not only in Debaltsevo — Russian diplomat

Introduction of a pass entry system in Ukraine on the border with Donbas raises the question whether Kiev considers the south-east part of the country, Russia's ambassador to the OSCE added

MOSCOW, February 4. /TASS/. Truce is needed everywhere in south-eastern Ukraine and not only around the town of Debaltsevo, Andrey Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said in an interview with Rossiya-24 news channel.

"The appeal (of the OSCE regarding truce in the areas around Debaltsevo — TASS) is not up to the point because it concerns Debaltsevo only," Kelin said. "In the meantime gunfire is on and combat actions are unfolding along the entire front from the areas to the south of Donetsk through to Luhansk," Kelin said.

"Ceasefire should be established everywhere and only after that attempts can be made to enact a plan for the pullout of heavy armaments — the one that the Contact Group (for peace settlement in south-eastern Ukraine — TASS) is trying to come to terms upon," he said.

OSCE’s Acting Chairman in Office, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic came up with a proposal earlier to declare a three-day truce in the Debaltsevo area to evacuate the population still stranded in the city and to resume the peace talks proceeding from humanitarian considerations. He said that the observers on the OSCE mission in Ukraine would assist in effectuating the truce.

Dacic hoped the measure would enable the parties to the conflict to evacuate civilians from the zone of combat operations.

He also said the truce should be used for an immediate resumption of consultations aimed at assuring a steady ceasefire and at full compliance with the September 2014 accords reached in Minsk.

Issues of extending the mandate and increasing the number of personnel of the monitoring mission of the OSCE in Ukraine will be raised in March, Russia’s ambassador to the OSCE said.

Kelin recalled that the mission’s mandate expires March 21.

On Kiev position and actions in south-eastern Ukraine

Kiev is trying again to solve the conflict in Ukraine by military means, although the first attempt to do so in the summer of 2014 failed, Kelin went on to say.

"Armaments are accumulated along the separation line, the economy is being militarized, mobilization is underway. We hear endless calls on Western countries to start supplies of arms," Russia's ambassador to the OSCE said.

"Development of events Kiev is aimed at is in essence a second attempt to solve the conflict by military means," he said.

Kiev’s attempts to call Russia "an aggressor" are required to get funds and weapons from the West; in reality, there is an aggression against the people of Donbas, Kelin went on to say.

"Such statements are required for one thing: to ask Western capitals for money and arms. They don’t have any legal or practical sense," Kelin said.

"This is an open aggression against the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, against people, and it is being led by Kiev law enforcers," he noted.

What is more, introduction of a pass entry system in Ukraine on the border with Donbas (Donetsk and Luhansk regions) raises the question whether Kiev considers the south-east part of the country, Andrey Kelin continued.

"If they consider [the south-east part of Ukraine], then these people should be talked with, if they have stopped considering, then many things become clear," Kelin said.