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Russia hopes Kiev will be committed to its ceasefire liabilities in Donbass — diplomat

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Russia hopes that Kiev will be committed to ceasefire in Donbass, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“Despite the fact that in their joint statement Ukraine’s defense minister and army commander-in-chief dodge publicly banning retaliatory fire without a permit from the Ukrainian army commanders, we hope that Kiev will observe its liabilities on ensuring the lasting ceasefire in eastern Ukraine,” she said.

Zakharova pointed to the fact that in the Ukrainian top brass pledged to stay committed to the measures on ceasefire strengthening, “including in what concerns retaliatory fire conditions.” “As is known, the above-mentioned measures were signed by Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk with Russia’s and the OSCE’s mediation and came into force on July 27, 2020. Since then, Donetsk and Lugansk have been observing their liabilities under this document and have been calling on Kiev to do the same,” she stressed.

Ukraine, however, has been dodging the implementation of this document and has been continuing to shell Donbass, Zakharova noted, adding that in September 2020 Ukraine stopped direct contacts with Donbass to prevent shootouts, which are envisaged by the ceasefire strengthening measures. “In late September, Ukrainian army commander-in-chief Zaluzhny and commander of the Donbass operation Pavlyuk in early October made statements allowing soldiers to open fire at their own discretion, which actually meant the withdrawal from the existing agreements,” she emphasized.

Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group Mikko Kinnunen said on Wednesday that the Contact Group had agreed to return to monitoring the ceasefire in Donbass. According to Russia’s chief negotiator Boris Gryzlov, Ukrainian representatives keep on blocking any peace initiatives of the Donbass republics. Thus, Ukraine is doing practically nothing to observe the ceasefire in Donbass.

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