The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is deeply concerned about serious deterioration of the security situation in the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) zone.
Within only two days of July 22-24, 2016 the militants supported by the Russian Federation shelled positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 189 times. Moreover, defiant and blatant use of weapons, which under the Minsk Agreements had to be withdrawn from the line of contact long time ago, continue to be witnessed.
Positions of the Ukrainian military, as well as civilian infrastructure facilities, including residential buildings, were shelled 89 times using artillery of 122mm calibre, 30 times – using mortars of 120mm calibre, 50 times – using mortars of 82mm calibre. 6 military clashes near Novozvanivka, Trudovske and Avdiivka resulted in the loss of Ukrainian personnel among the ATO forces.
The Ukrainian army continues to observe presence of a large number of Russian heavy weapons, which under the Minsk Agreements had to be withdrawn from the line of contact.
Targeted escalation of the security situation comes against the backdrop of massive supply by the Russian Federation to the Donbas region of Ukraine of military equipment, armaments and ammunition, mercenaries, as well as personnel of the regular Russian army.
Since the beginning of this July 19 railway trains with armaments and military equipment coming from the Russian Federation have crossed the uncontrolled part of the Ukraine-Russia state border. Russia, in violation of the norms of the international law and its commitments in the field of the export control, has supplied 19 T-72tanks, 3 multiple rocket launchers “Grad”, 2 self-propelled artilleries, 11 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles.
Russia has also supplied 130 tanks of fuels and lubricants (6 600 tons) and 14 railroad wagons of ammunition (approx. 560 tons). 9 motorized troops, which inter alia include 44 trucks with ammunition, 34 gasoline tank trucks and 77 other vehicles, have entered temporarily uncontrolled area of Ukraine.
Russian unmanned aerial vehicles have three times illegally crossed the Ukraine-Russia state border to carry out their intelligence tasks in the Ukrainian airspace and to return to the respective bases on the territory of the Russian Federation.
There is a clear sign of intimidation of the observers of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, as well as of impediment to their monitoring and verification activities in accordance with the mandate, which was, inter alia, approved by the Russian Federation.
Among the evidence is further restricted access for the observers to the areas that are currently not controlled by Ukraine, including those adjacent to the Ukraine-Russia state border; impediment to the Mission’s activity by means of disallowing further expansion of its field presence in the uncontrolled areas, as well as of organizing prepaid and well-staged protests and ‘unarmed resistance’ to the Mission’s attempts to properly perform its functions.
It is quite obvious that the claim about allegedly “internal” character of the conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine, which is being widely imposed by Moscow on the international community, is simply an attempt by the Russian Federation to avert the attention from its real role as being organizer, immediate participant and party to the conflict.
Such rhetoric of the Kremlin is confirmed by the position of the Russian delegation at the Minsk negotiations, where it attempts to perform a role of an outsider and an attorney for the illegal armed groups in certain areas of the Donbas region, instead of insisting on their full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.
A similar behavior is manifested with regards to the agreements reached in the “Normandy format” by either refusing their implementation or consciously trying to distort their contents. This is particularly relevant to the framework principles of disengaging the forces on the line of contact, which was approved by the military advisers for the Heads of State of the Normandy Four countries on June 15-16.
We have to admit that the militants’ leaders in Donetsk and Luhansk, as well as their Kremlin mentors, have deliberately chosen the path of further escalation of the conflict, instead of its peaceful settlement through consecutive implementation of the Minsk agreements.
It is clear that armed provocations by the illegal armed groups will require decisive actions from the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to make terrorists abandon their plans for escalation of the conflict by force.
Strictly adhering to its commitments the Ukrainian side will continue to do its utmost to put an end to killings in Donbas and to restore peaceful life, constitutional order and respect for human rights in the temporarily occupied territories.
We demand that the Russian Federation, as a party to the Minsk Agreements, without any delay fulfils its obligations, withdraws its military, mercenaries and weapons from the territory of Donbas, halts the illegal supplies of armaments and military equipment to militants, and unblocks the work of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
We appeal to the international partners to increase political and diplomatic pressure on the Kremlin in order to prevent further tension in the Donbas region of Ukraine.