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'Poroshenko Bears Full Responsibility for Escalation of Bloodshed in Donbass'

© AFP 2021 / EMMANUEL DUNANDUkraine's President Petro Poroshenko smiles prior to a meeting with European Commission President at the European Commission in Brussels, August 27, 2015
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko smiles prior to a meeting with European Commission President at the European Commission in Brussels, August 27, 2015 - Sputnik International
Leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in Ukraine’s southeast, Igor Plotnitsky, has blamed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko for the escalation of the conflict in the region.

LUHANSK (Sputnik) – The Ukrainian armed forces have carried out some 20 attacks on positions of people’s militia since Sunday, Plotnitsky said.

Ukrainian 122 mm MLRS BM-21 Grad fires rocket during a military exercise at a shooting range close to Devichiki in the Kiev region on October 28, 2016 - Sputnik International
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"Since December 18 the military situation in the direction of Debaltseve [in southeastern Donetsk region] has escalated sharply. Divisions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard of Ukraine and the Nazi battalions, without announcing an end to the ceasefire or presenting any demands, carried out over 20 attacks on the positions of our people’s militia," Plotnitsky said in a statement.

The LPR leader stressed that the Ukrainian forces used artillery and heavy armor in the attacks that should have been withdrawn under the Minsk peace agreement.

Plotnitsky said that there have been casualties and wounded among LPR fighters as a result of the attacks, all of which have been successfully repelled without harming civilians even though "armed units under Kiev control are trying to fire at civilian buildings."

"Poroshenko bears full responsibility for the escalation of bloodshed in Donbass [Ukraine’s southeastern regions]," Plotnitsky stressed.

Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup. In February 2015, the two sides reached a ceasefire deal after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format — in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Kiev has been reluctant to implement a number of Minsk deal provisions.

Donbass militiaman rests at his position inside the Donetsk airport, eastern Ukraine. June 9, 2015. - Sputnik International
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On Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the conflicting sides in Ukraine to adhere to ceasefire ahead of the winter holidays, particularly in the area of Debaltseve where an escalation of fighting had occurred.

Steinmeier stressed that the withdrawal of heavy weapons must be urgently completed in Ukraine’s southeast and Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) monitors should be granted access to all areas of Donbas.

The German foreign minister also called for the release of prisoners, particularly the most vulnerable ones, before the end of 2017.

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