Press Releases


Russian Foreign Ministry statement on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis

56-18-01-2015

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 peoples republics and representatives of the concerned foreign countries, including those within the Normandy format.

Seeking to coordinate practical efforts towards the implementation of the Minsk agreements, representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk peoples 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 Kievs 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 Peoples 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 Putins 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 EUs 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

 

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