"We believe that by this latest gross provocation near Avdiivka, Kiev just wants to check the degree of readiness of the new [US] administration, whether it is ready… to support any stunt of the Ukrainian armed forces or not," Ushakov told reporters.
Kiev is responsible for escalation of the situation in Donbass over the past 24 hours, Yury Ushakov added.
"It [the situation] has now degraded in the past 24 hours because of Kiev. We have evidence that Kiev has started an offensive, started artillery shelling, and the local militia had to respond. The whole situation with the Minsk agreements has worsened, and that is basically what Kiev wants," Ushakov told journalists.
Kiev is using the Minsk format as a cover and as means of putting pressure on Moscow, Ushakov said.
"The latest tragic events in Avdiivka, the provocations of the Ukrainian servicemen are another clear proof, in my opinion, that Kiev is not ready to and will not implement Minsk agreements … Kiev does not need these Minsk agreements, it needs the Minsk format as a cover, as a cover and as means to put pressure on Moscow," Ushakov told reporters.
"Overall, the Ukrainian side did not take a single step to implement them in two years. Everyone sees this, it is obvious to everyone, but the EU and US sanctions over the lack of progress in the Minsk process are aimed against Russia. This is a paradoxical situation, we cannot do Kiev’s work for them," Ushakov stressed.
The Ukrainian forces and Donbass militia are accusing each other of being responsible for escalation of fighting. Kiev has declared state of emergency in the town of Avdiivka near Donetsk, located on the demarcation line. The town has been under attack since Sunday. Water and power supplies were reportedly cut off in the town on Monday.