“We are very concerned over the new outbreak of violence in southeastern Ukraine. This was preceded by threatening statements out of Kiev, President [Petro] Poroshenko’s announcement of new waves of [military] mobilization that will begin with 100,000 people. During the pretty quiet period that was there until recently, new weapons, new equipment and military contingents have moved toward the southeast [of Ukraine],” Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow.
Clashes between Kiev forces and Donbas independence supporters intensified in the first weeks of 2015, despite a ceasefire agreement reached during talks in Minsk on September 5 and a “silence regime” introduced in the region on December 9.
The authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics (DPR and LPR) repeatedly stated that Kiev was using truce period to strengthen its forces and prepare for a new offensive.
Last week, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk urged the country’s parliament to cancel the ceasefire, while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s press service announced that Ukraine was regrouping its military and reinforcing units in “hot spots” in the country’s east.
In a statement published Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry called on parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict to immediately withdraw heavy artillery from the Donbas and fulfill other obligations they have under the Minsk agreements.