‘Pattern of attacks on civilians in Ukraine’

Derek Monroe
Derek Monroe is a writer/reporter and consultant based in Illinois, USA. He has reported on international and US foreign policy issues from Latin America, Poland, Japan, Iraq, Ukraine, Sri Lanka and India. His work appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus, Alternet, Truthout and Ohmynews, and has been published in over 20 countries.
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​With an artillery attack in eastern Ukraine, a violation of the Minsk Agreement has occurred, but it is important to wait for a final judgment by the OSCE to determine who initiated the incident, foreign policy analyst Derek Monroe told RT.

Three people including one child were killed by artillery fire in the town of Gorlovka, an area controlled by anti-government forces. They claim the Ukrainian military was behind the attack.

RT:The truce has largely been holding in eastern Ukraine in the past months. How will these recent attacks on residential areas affect the fragile ceasefire?

Derek Monroe: There seem to be a pattern of attacks against the civilian population, not only from the Ukrainian side but also vice versa. So there is a very troubling specifically when it comes to the special arrangement of the Minsk Agreement of having the heavy artillery withdrawn within 50km perimeter and this attack itself proves that there is a definite violation here.

READ MORE: 3 civilians, including 11yo killed by Ukrainian army shell in Donbass - reports

I would wait with a final judgment who actually committed what till the OSCE team arrives tomorrow on the site and actually makes a definite finding [that includes] inspecting the wreckage and the situation on the ground. But for all intent and purposes it appears to be the Ukrainian side that fired the artillery.

RT:Earlier this month the Ukrainian parliament passed a resolution giving Kiev the right to ignore the Human Rights Convention in defiant eastern regions. How might that affect the way Kiev's forces act in the east of the country?

DM: This specific arrangement by the Ukrainian government basically violates not only international law, but also the principles of law anywhere because first and foremost no civilian people should be targeted whatever the circumstances they are. I think it’s definitely a sign of escalation of the conflict from the side of Ukraine, but once again it’s very hard to say exactly what happened and the issue needs to be further examined on the ground.

READ MORE: Kiev’s limitations on human rights in Donbass ‘not a carte blanche’

RT:Last week President Poroshenko said preparations are needed for a possible Russian offensive and claimed Ukraine is at war with Russia. In that context, what are the chances for the current Minsk peace deal?

DM: Poroshenko has different agendas at the same time. First of all, he gives a very brave face for domestic consumption, specifically when pronouncing his own steadfastness in continuing the conflict… At the same time he has to find a way to pay for the war itself. So I wouldn’t take seriously what Poroshenko is saying to the media or to his own people. I think the only sensible solution is to continue the ceasefire and come somehow to a political resolution of the issue. This is the only sane thing to do.

RT:The Western take on the situation in Kiev is often confined to simply blaming Russia. Just several hours ago President Obama criticized Moscow again for what he called an increasing aggressive posture in Ukraine. What actions exactly did he mean?

DM: Obama is also in a situation where he has definitely very strong political motivations to basically state the line versus Ukraine and versus Russia in this case in order for him to basically prolong his own political standing not only within the population but also in foreign policy circles here in Washington. But first and foremost I think at the end of the day the US has so many issues to deal with - situation with Iraq is the best example and Islamic State – so I wouldn’t really take it seriously. There is just some appeal and harsh words given for political consumption but I wouldn’t go beyond that.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.