Comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine regarding the aggravation of the situation in Donbas
Ukraine is deeply concerned about significant increase in the number of ceasefire violations committed by the illegal armed groups, operating in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine.
The geography of the attacks, their intensity and systematic nature are of particular concern. During the period of 1-11 November 2015 militants carried out over 240 shellings along the contact line, including with 82 mm and 120 mm mortars which are to be withdrawn according to the Minsk agreements.
Three times (2, 8 and 10 November) the illegal armed groups have provoked fire exchange with the units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. For the first time in two months they have attempted to assault Ukrainian military positions near the villages of Mayorske and Novozvanivka.
High concentration of heavy weapons has been registered in the immediate vicinity of the contact line on the territory temporarily not controlled by Ukraine, including artillery, tanks, deployment of new artillery units, increased subversive and reconnaissance activity, ammunition supplies etc. Hiding heavy military equipment continues in prohibited areas in violation of the Minsk agreements.
At the same time, a number of invasions into Ukraine’s airspace by reconnaissance drones were recorded. Unusual military activities of the Russian armed forces in the border regions of Ukraine were observed, including military exercises involving aviation, military and other special equipment in the Rostov and Kursk regions of the Russian Federation.
Ukraine considers the abovementioned actions as a deliberate attempt to disrupt not only the process of withdrawal of 100- mm caliber heavy weapons, which had been recently successfully completed by Ukraine, but also the implementation of other provisions of the Minsk agreements, including important social-economic and humanitarian projects.
As the cold weather approaches, the militants put into jeopardy the implementation of repair works at the sites of critical economic infrastructure.
We expect the OSCE SMM to immediately carry out a thorough investigation of the violations of the Minsk agreements and give them an objective assessment as provided for in para 3 of OSCE Permanent Council Decision №1117 of 21 March 2014 on Deployment of an OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, as well as in agreements reached in the security domain.
We continue to adhere to the unwavering position that implementing security provisions by the Russian Federation and the illegal armed groups it supports is the key precondition for the proper implementation of the Minsk agreements: namely, halting supplies of weapons, military equipment and mercenaries by Moscow; ensuring full and unhindered access of the OSCE SMM observers to all areas, including temporarily uncontrolled parts of Ukraine-Russia state border; withdrawal of weapons, troops and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine; disarmament of the illegal armed groups.
We call on the international community to step up the pressure on the Russian Federation in order to ensure strict adherence to a comprehensive ceasefire regime as well as unconditional implementation of the Minsk documents in their entirety.
Ukraine remains committed to the Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015 as the only efficient instrument of peaceful settlement of the situation in Donbas and will take all necessary measures for their proper implementation.