Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis
Russia has been working to ensure strict compliance with the Minsk accords on the settlement of the Ukrainian
crisis. It is the main goal of our relations with the Ukrainian leadership, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk
and Lugansk people’s republics and representatives of the concerned foreign countries, including those within the
Seeking to coordinate practical efforts towards the implementation of the Minsk agreements, representatives of the
Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics arrived in Minsk for a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine scheduled for
January 16. However, the meeting was not held because the Ukrainian representatives failed to show up at the Belarusian
capital. We are doing everything possible to ensure that the Contact Group will meet early next week. We are urging its
members and everyone who can influence the situation to ensure that the meeting is held.
We are deeply concerned that Kiev continues to build up its armed forces in southeast Ukraine in violation of the
Minsk agreements. Evidence of this is accelerated mobilisation, the new “waves” of mobilisation announced in Ukraine
and Kiev’s repeated calls to “avenge” the situation that developed “in the field” before the agreements were signed in
Minsk in September 2014.
Under the Minsk agreements, the Donetsk airport was to have been turned over to the self-defence forces. But the
transfer has not been completed due to disputes over some parts of the contact line, while the Ukrainian armed forces
continued to shell from the airport building Donetsk and nearby populated areas, killing peaceful civilians, including
women and children, and destroying schools, residential blocks and infrastructure facilities. It is to stop these
criminal activities that the self-defence forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic have assumed control of the airport,
but the Ukrainian armed forces launched a full-scale military operation, disregarding casualties among civilians, in
order to win back this strategic facility and to continue shelling the residential districts of Donetsk.
On 15 January this year, President of Russia Vladimir Putin sent a letter to President of Ukraine Petr Poroshenko to
remind him that the sides must strictly comply with the “silence regime” and honour their pledge to pull out heavy
weaponry from the line of contact. Despite a dispute over part of this line, Russia has called for immediately
withdrawing heavy weaponry from the line of contact as marked by Kiev. Russia is willing to use its influence to
convince the self-defence forces to accept this solution in the spirit of good will to prevent civilian casualties.
Practical proposals and an hourly schedule for the withdrawal of heavy weaponry have been sent to the Ukrainian
officials in the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination. President Putin’s letter remains unanswered, and the
Ukrainian armed forces have rejected the proposals and have resumed the shelling of Donetsk, thereby creating a direct
risk of the loss of life of civilians and members of the OSCE mission.
We are outraged by the attempts undertaken by Kiev and its US sponsors to place blame for the tragedy in Volnovakha
with the self-defence forces, without waiting for the conclusion of the investigation or court ruling. However, the
OSCE report of 17 January this year has overturned these groundless accusations. We demand an immediate and objective
investigation of the tragedy with the participation of representatives of the concerned parties.
It is obvious that Kiev used the recent ceasefire to regroup its forces and is now trying to escalate the conflict
to achieve a military solution to it.
These attempts, which have been complemented with obvious provocations, such as the downing of Malaysia Airlines
Flight 17 and the incident that caused the deaths of civilians on a bus in Volnovakha, are usually taken ahead of EU or
other political events of the western countries that plan to discuss the situation in Ukraine. The latest offensive by
the party of war was clearly timed for the upcoming meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on 19 January.
These subversive activities can only further deepen the crisis in Ukraine.
We strongly propose that practical work be resumed within the Contact Group in order to attain a comprehensive
fulfilment of the Minsk agreements. The priority goal is to put an end to hostilities and to resume the silence regime.
The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine must play the key role in this.
We strongly urge all members of the international community to convince the Kiev authorities to abandon their logic
of confrontation and the efforts to achieve a military solution in southeast Ukraine, and to honour their pledge to
launch an inclusive constitutional reform in which all regions of the country would be equally represented.
18 January 2015