Kyiv blames Moscow, Donetsk and Luhansk republics for violating Minsk agreements

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(Interfax – KYIV, Feb. 17, 2015)

Ukraine’s presidential chief of staff has blamed Russia, and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics for violating the Minsk accords reached on February 12.

“Contrary to the expectations that all parties will demonstrate a responsible position after the adoption on February 12 of the Declaration of measures to be taken, including Russia – the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics were among the signatories – neither Russia, nor the so-called Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics have been honoring the agreements reached,” Valeriy Chaly said at a press briefing in Kyiv on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian presidential administration sees the encirclement of Debaltseve as a violation of the Minsk agreements.

“Making use of the truce and the beginning of the heavy arms pullout, the militants, backed by Russia, in fact plan to encircle Debaltseve, which is undermining all chances for further fulfillment of these agreements,” Chaly said.

“We actually see the hope for peace falling apart. Such developments are leading to further escalation of tensions and, apparently, to a return to a different scenario,” he said.

“Aware of the complexity of the situation, we spent the whole of the previous day holding telephone consultations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. and British representatives,” Chaly said.

“An agreement was reached during the discussions of the situation that officials with the Ukrainian and Russian general staffs, represented in the Joint Control and Coordination Center, and delegates of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, will hold a video conference to guarantee Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors’ access to Debaltseve and other sectors,” he said.

But this initiative was blocked by the militia, who “threatened in written and other statements to continue attacks and the offensive,” Chaly said. This position was “in fact supported by the Russian representative in the joint center,” he said.

“This is actually a flagrant violation of the previous agreements and of the entire package of Minsk accords, from the Protocol adopted on September 5 and Memorandum of September 19, to the most important agreement on the plan of measures, enforced at the highest level with the Russian president’s participation,” he said.