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    OSCE monitoring mission observers near the village of Zaichenko, Donetsk Region

    US DoS Condemns Attack on Special Monitoring Mission in East Ukraine

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    The United States condemns a recent attack on the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) in eastern Ukraine, the US Department of State said Sunday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The State Department accused Donbass militia of the incident, however, provided no proof.

    "‎We condemn Friday’s targeting of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) monitors and the seizure of a SMM unmanned aerial vehicle…," the State Department said in a statement.

    The State Department has also called on eastern Ukrainian militia and Russia to observe the ceasefire, "withdraw all heavy weapons" and allow OSCE monitors access to the area.

    Kiev launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics in 2014, when the two regions refused to recognize the new Ukrainian government that came to power in what they consider to be a coup.

    Since late January, the conflict in eastern Ukraine between local militia and Kiev authorities has escalated in Avdiivka and Yasynuvata towns near Donetsk, with Kiev forces and Donbass militia accusing each other of being responsible for the escalation of fighting.

    Russian authorities have repeatedly voiced concern over the escalation. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier in February that Moscow had reliable data that the Ukrainian independent armed groups, supported by the Ukrainian Armed Forces' artillery, were behind the attack on Avdiivka.

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    OSCE, U.S. Department of State, Donbass, United States, Ukraine
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