Es­ca­la­tion in eastern Ukraine vi­o­lates Minsk peace deal: EU

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Mount­ing at­tacks in gov­ern­men­theld ar­eas of eastern Ukraine vi­o­late a Fe­bru­ary peace deal with proRus­sian sep­a­ratists, the EU said Tues­day.

“The re­newed es­ca­la­tion of the con­flict ... as a re­sult of at­tacks on sev­eral gov­ern­ment-con­trolled ar­eas to­day ... vi­o­lates the spirit and the let­ter of the Minsk Agree­ments,” the EU’s Ex­ter­nal Ac­tion Ser­vice said in a state­ment, re­fer­ring to the ac­cord signed in the cap­i­tal of Be­larus.

The EU’s diplo­matic arm con­demned an ar­son at­tack Sun­day on ar­mored ve­hi­cles be­long­ing to OSCE truce mon­i­tors as well as the fact that the mon­i­tors have been caught in the cross­fire in Shchastya and Shy­rokyne.

These in­ci­dents “put in dan­ger the cru­cial role that the SMM (Spe- cial Mon­i­tor­ing Mis­sion of the OSCE) plays in mon­i­tor­ing and ver­i­fy­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Minsk agree­ments,” it said.

The EU did not ex­plic­itly blame the rebels in the state­ment, un­der­lin­ing that the peace agree­ment “is the ba­sis for a sus­tain­able so­lu­tion of the con­flict in full re­spect of Ukraine’s in­de­pen­dence, sovereignty and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.”

The num­ber of at­tacks on OSCE observers has in­creased in re­cent weeks in eastern Ukraine, where the con­flict be­tween gov­ern­ment troops and pro-Rus­sian sep­a­ratists has claimed more than 6,800 lives in 15 months.

The EU re­newed its call for full re­spect of the ceasefire and a gen­uine with­drawal of heavy weapons un­der the terms of the peace agree­ment.

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