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Kiev uses situation in Avdeyevka as pretext to ditch Minsk deal - Churkin

The recordings of surveillance cameras clearly indicate that clashes were triggered by fire from positions held by the Kiev government troops, Russia's UN Ambassador said
Russia's ambassador to UN, Vitaly Churkin EPA/JASON SZENES
Russia's ambassador to UN, Vitaly Churkin

UN, February 3. /TASS/. The Kiev government uses the clashes that it provoked near the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdeyevka as a pretext for "complete rejection" of the Minsk reconciliation agreements, Russia’s UN envoy, Vitaly Churkin, said.

"The essence of those events is quite clear: Kiev is trying to use the armed clashes that it provoked as a pretext for complete rejection of the February 12, 2015 Minsk agreements, sealed by the UN Security Council resolution 2202," he said.

The diplomat pointed at evidence obtained from surveillance cameras. The recordings clearly indicate that clashes were preceded by fire from positions held by the Kiev government troops.

He also cited Ukrainian military commanders, who boasted their military advance, and OSCE conclusions that blame the Kiev military for the escalation of the conflict.

The Russian envoy pointed at what appears to be a correlation between the Kiev leadership’s foreign trips and intensification of hostilities in East Ukraine, which he attributed to Poroshenko’s attempts to "wheedle" money from the United States, Europe and international financial institutions.

"Any serious intensification of hostilities in Donbass miraculously coincides with foreign visits of the Ukrainian leadership. Apparently, this is how Kiev expects to keep the crisis that it had provoked on the international agenda," the Russian diplomat said.

"And, of course, the Ukrainian leadership needs money today, that can easily wheedled out of the European Union, some European nations, the United States and international financial institutions when they pretend to be a victim of ‘aggression’," Churkin said.

He added that instead of "searching sensible compromises" within the Normandy and the Contact Group formats, the Ukrainian authorities "keep pressing for a military solution with stubbornness worthy of a better cause."

In the past few days, the situation along the line of contact has deteriorated drastically. The Ukrainian military’s shelling has caused civilian deaths and casualties and damaged infrastructure facilities. On Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council issued a statement condemning the use of weapons banned by the Minsk agreements and calling on the sides to immediately halt the fire.

On February 1, the Contact Group on settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine held a meeting in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, demanding that hostilities in Donbass be stopped, weapons and military hardware be withdrawn from the line of contact by February 5.