Kiev not fully committed to ceasefire, amasses troops along E. Ukraine frontline – Russia
Kiev is not fully committed to the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Russian deputy UN ambassador Aleksandr Pankin said during Wednesday's UN Security Council meeting. He added that the Ukrainian military is amassing forces along the front line.
“Throughout the ceasefire period a concentration of Ukrainian troops was observed almost along the entire front line,” Pankin said.
The withdrawal of heavy weapons and tech gear from the front line has not begun, he added.
Kiev’s allegations of the presence of Russian troops and weapons in Ukraine contradict the real situation on the ground, Pankin stated, adding that this misinformation is spread to justify Kiev’s own failures.
“Apparently, Kiev’s fear of the self-defense forces is so great that it tries to justify their own failures and massive transfer of personnel and equipment to the front lines by loudly claiming alleged Russian weapons and army,” Pankin explained.
“A more logical explanation is the presence of increasingly fortified positions of the self-defense forces, noted by the OSCE, in the regions that are being increasingly exposed to attacks by security forces.”
The deputy UN envoy also expressed Russia’s concern over the annulment of the law giving special status to the Lugansk and Donetsk regions by Ukrainian authorities, adding that the law is “a cornerstone of the Minsk protocol.”
The lack of reaction from the OSCE on the actions of Kiev's forces has only added fuel to the fire, Pankin stated.
Kiev said on Wednesday that it is sending more troops into eastern Ukraine out of fear that militias might start a new military offensive.
Meanwhile, the US called for greater international pressure on Russia to adhere to the Ukrainian ceasefire during the UNSC meeting.
"What we need to do is keep ratcheting up the pressure on Russia until it abides by Minsk and chooses the path of de-escalation," US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said.
The UN Security Council gathered for an emergency session on Wednesday to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine, where the conflict between Kiev and anti-government forces is still unfolding, despite previous Minsk ceasefire agreements. The UNSC has also discussed the elections which took place in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics on November 2, which Moscow recognized as legitimate.
Also on Wednesday, NATO once again accused the Russian army of crossing the Ukrainian border, saying that over the last few days they “have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems, and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine.” Moscow has refuted the accusations, saying that no evidence has been provided to support them.
Meanwhile, despite the ceasefire agreement, Kiev troops are preparing for a winter campaign against the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Ukrainian Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Wednesday. He accused the self-defense forces of a military build-up in eastern Ukraine.
In turn, the Donetsk People’s Republic militia’s deputy head said it plans to observe the Minsk memorandum.
According to the militia, the Ukrainian army has been actively shelling Donetsk, with explosions being heard throughout the city.
Since the beginning of what Kiev calls an ‘anti-terrorist’ operation in eastern Ukraine in April, the number of victims on both sides has exceeded 4,000 people. Over 9,300 others have been wounded.