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Shelling of OSCE Mission Shows Kiev’s Reluctance to Stick to Minsk Deal

© REUTERS / Gleb GaranichA member of Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) to Ukraine walks along a convoy of Ukrainian armed forces in Blagodatne, eastern Ukraine
A member of Special Monitoring Mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) to Ukraine walks along a convoy of Ukrainian armed forces in Blagodatne, eastern Ukraine - Sputnik International
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The shelling of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) observers in eastern Ukraine highlighted Kiev's reluctance to implement Minsk agreements, Russia's permanent OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the Donetsk News Agency reported that an inspection group comprising the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic's Deputy Defense Minister Eduard Basurin, representatives of OSCE and the Joint Center for Ceasefire Control and Coordination has been shelled near the village of Kominternove near Mariupol, close to the contact line in southern Donbass, and had to return to Donetsk. Later the SMM OSCE confirmed that its observers came under fire.

"I believe that the mission will study this incident and will draw the corresponding conclusions. Once again, I would like to reiterate that this is a very dangerous syndrome in terms of maintaining the ceasefire and implementing measures agreed in Minsk on February 12," Lukashevich told the Russian Lifenews TV channel.

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He added that Russia repeatedly drew OSCE attention to similar incidents and concluded that such a political line was chosen by the Ukrainian leadership because "most likely they are not going to implement full set of [Minsk deal] measures that stipulate, among other things, a complete ceasefire and the withdrawal of weapons."

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Southeastern Ukraine has been suffering from a crisis triggered by a military operation launched by Kiev authorities in April 2014 against local militias. The latter have refused to recognize the pro-Western government in Kiev imposed by what they consider to be a coup earlier in 2014.

The OSCE monitoring mission was deployed to the eastern Ukraine to observe the implementation of peace agreements reached by the two sides in the Belarusian capital of Minsk with mediation by Russia, France and Germany first in September 2014 and then in February 2015.

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