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US lethal weapons supplies to Ukraine may kill Minsk accords — Russian OSCE envoy Kelin

This will be the second step following the first one taken by the Verkhovna Rada to destroy the Minsk agreements, Andrey Kelin says
Ukrainian soldiers EPA/ROMAN PILIPEY
Ukrainian soldiers

VIENNA, March 24. /TASS/. The US lethal weapons’ supplies to Ukraine may prove fatal for the Minsk agreements, Russia’s permanent representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Andrey Kelin told TASS on Tuesday.

"This will be the second step following the first one taken by the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s parliament] to destroy the Minsk agreements. It may prove fatal for the Minsk agreements as such," Kelin said.

The Russian diplomat also said that the US Congress Tuesday’s resolution calling on President Barack Obama to start the supplies of weapons to Kiev is only a recommendation and is not binding. "They are trying all the time to intimidate us by saying that the decision has not been taken yet, but it may be taken," Kelin said.

The resolution calls on the US president to use the authority granted him by the Congress to provide Ukraine with lethal defensive weapons to strengthen the Ukrainian people’s capability to defend their sovereign territory. The document was supported by 348 lawmakers with 48 against.

Washington’s decision to supply Ukraine with ammunition and weapons would "explode the whole situation" in eastern Ukraine and Russia would be forced to respond "appropriately," Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said at the end of February. "It would be a major blow to the Minsk agreements and would explode the whole situation," Ryabkov said.

On March 17, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the list of districts of the country’s south-eastern Donbas region to which the special self-government order is extended. However, its introduction has been postponed pending new elections there in accordance with Ukrainian legislation.

The adoption of the resolution that would specify the territories with a special status was specified in the Minsk agreements of February 12. Kiev was to adopt it by March 14. However, in addition to breaking the deadline it also introduced considerable changes to the Ukrainian law "On the temporary self-government order in separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions." Heads of the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky said in a joint statement that "denying the special status to Donbas, Kiev has trampled upon the fragile Minsk peace and deadlocked the situation.".