West frustrated over Kiev’s breaches of Minsk deals – Russian UN envoy
The Security Council gathered on Friday to call for the full implementation of the agreements reached in Minsk on February 12 amid escalating tensions between the conflicting sides in recent weeks.
During the UNSC meeting Churkin said he has noticed “frustration” with Kiev’s “flagrant violation and blunt ignorance of the Minsk agreements” among even those Western states that are “loyal to Kiev.”
He called on the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) stationed in eastern Ukraine to explain the specific circumstances that have led to the shellings and to name those who have carried out the attacks.
“We call on the SMM OSCE to not only discreetly establish the ceasefire violations, but in addition to that to precisely report on the targets of the shelling and its victims – civilians or military divisions carrying out artillery attacks on residential areas,” he said.
He said there is need for a “clear picture” of what is ongoing in Donbass and urged the OSCE to establish which side is “violating not only the Minsk agreements but also norms of international humanitarian law.”
Churkin called on UNSC state-members to bring their influence to bear on Kiev and “make all efforts” to assure the situation in eastern Ukraine “doesn’t spin out of control.”
“If Kiev is allowed to further delay the implementation of necessary political steps in regard to Donbass, the situation could again spin out of control leading to unpredicted consequences.”
Tensions have been escalating in eastern Ukraine recently, leading to mounting fears that the fragile ceasefire could collapse.
Five civilians were killed by Ukrainian army shelling in the Donetsk region Wednesday overnight, according to rebel officials.
— Ilya Petrenko (@ilpetrenko_rt) June 4, 2015
Last week, a residential area in the town of Gorlovka was heavily shelled and at least four people were killed, including an 11year old girl.
UNSC members on Friday urged both sides in the Ukrainian conflict to exercise restraint and uphold the ceasefire. UN political chief Jeffrey Feltman said that the ceasefire must be respected.
"We are either looking at a return to a deepening intractable conflict or a momentary upsurge in parts of the conflict zone," he told the council. "We cannot afford either scenario."
With the civilian population hit the hardest, he demanded guaranteed access to humanitarian aid in the conflict zone.
The OSCE monitoring mission deputy head Alexander Hug speaking to the UNSC called on “the sides to return to the negotiations table and resolve all the questions.”
“I first have to say that the incident in Marinka this week is one of many the OSCE SMM has registered ever since the package of measures has been agreed upon on February 12,” Hug told RT on Friday.
“In addition to that, it has to be said clearly that the ceasefire that has been agreed in February is holding in most places of the 500 km long contact line. However, there have always been hotspots ever since February 12. The only difference now is that the number of these hotspots seems to have increased.”
“It is true that both sides of the conflict, even after February 12, have used heavy weapons,” he said. The Minsk deal includes a requirement to withdraw heavy weapons from the contact line and establish a buffer zone.
“We have reported on that ever since the heavy weapons should have been withdrawn. We have also reported that we have seen storage sites on both sides of the contact line, and we have reported that weapons have gone missing on both sides of the contact line.”
— Ilya Petrenko (@ilpetrenko_rt) June 3, 2015
In addition he said that “the government of Ukraine has notified the OSCE – which is reported in our spot report on the Marinka incident – that they have plans to pull back their weapons to the frontline. We can confirm that.” He also said that the OSCE witnessed a pullback of heavy weapons from the Donetsk region to the village before the incident.
"Civilians continue to bear an unacceptable price in this conflict," he told the UNSC. "They are killed and wounded, as both sides continue to place military positions in and around civilian infrastructure. Their property and livelihoods have been destroyed."
Moscow believes that the timing of these violations, initiated by the Kiev forces, is connected with the upcoming EU summit, said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday.
“In the past Kiev had already heated up tensions amid some large international events. This is the case, and now we are seriously concerned about the next repetition of such activity,” he added.
He blamed Kiev for breaching the Minsk deal and called for a reaction from the OSCE.
“Donbass is being shelled. Self-defense forces can’t shell their own territory,” he said. "The violations are obvious and [Foreign] Minister [Sergey] Lavrov has already said that the representatives of the OSCE are to draw corresponding conclusions and to clearly identify who is responsible for these violations [in eastern Ukraine].”