17:04 GMT04 March 2021
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    Denis Pushilin, the envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic at the Minsk reconciliation talks said that Ukrainian forces captured seven villages located in the 'gray' or 'buffer' zone in Donbass.

    MINSK (Sputnik) — Kiev-led forces have captured seven villages in the buffer zone separating conflicting sides in eastern Ukraine, Denis Pushilin, the envoy of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic at the Minsk reconciliation talks said Tuesday.

    "We have informed the OSCE envoy in the Contact Group on Ukraine that Ukrainian forces have, in essence, captured seven villages located in the 'gray' or 'buffer' zone," Pushilin told reporters after Contact Group on Ukraine talks in Minsk.

    "The status quo has been violated, and such actions, if left neglected, could lead to resumption of full-scale military action," Pushilin stressed.

    Ukraine’s southeast was targeted by Kiev’s special military operation in April 2014, after residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the new coup-installed government.

    The February peace deal signed between the conflicting sides in the Belarusian capital stipulated the creation of a 18-mile buffer zone.

    The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has been tasked with monitoring the implementation of the Minsk ceasefire provisions, including weaponry withdrawal from the line of contact in eastern Ukraine.


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    Donetsk People's Republic, Minsk agreements, Ukrainian crisis, Denis Pushilin, Donbass, Ukraine
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