Kremlin urges pressure on Kiev to stop ‘criminal ventures’ in E. Ukraine
Moscow is calling for pressure to be put on Kiev to bring about an end to the hostilities in eastern Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
“The most important thing at the moment is to somehow force and persuade Kiev to give up on such ventures which are sufficiently criminal and could undermine the Minsk process,” Peskov told reporters during a conference call with the press on Friday.
“You see, Russia can undertake [any actions] only on the political and diplomatic front, which it does. The contact group is working, the president’s aides do,” Peskov said, responding to a question on whether Russia is planning retaliatory actions after a densely populated residential district in the Kievsky neighborhood of Donetsk, located next to the Russian border, came under fire from Ukraine’s security forces.
As a result of the shelling, which was reportedly carried out on the orders of senior commanders and officials from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, three local people were killed and 15 more hospitalized with injuries. The attacks also damaged at least 60 residential buildings and civilian infrastructure facilities.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Friday that the recent “barbaric raid” on Donetsk cannot be justified, also stating that pro-Kiev forces had violated the Geneva Convention covering the protection of civilians, as well as basic human morals.
Russia’s top federal investigative agency has begun a criminal case into the deaths of civilians in Donetsk that were reportedly the result of shelling by Ukrainian government forces on February 1-3. According to Investigative Committee acting chief spokesman Svetlana Petrenko, a criminal case has been launched into the use of illegal methods of warfare.
Responding to a question from a Ukrainian news agency, which inquired when Donetsk opposition forces would run out of armaments, Peskov expressed hope that the fighters defending the residential districts in eastern Ukraine would have enough weapons to repel Kiev’s attacks.
“I do not know [how much ammo they have left], we do not count ammunition in the Kremlin.
“We hope that they will have enough ammunition to respond to the aggressive actions of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, though,” Peskov said.