11:31 GMT31 May 2020
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    The transport blockade of Donbass prevents de-escalation of the situation and postpones the implementation of the Minsk agreements, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    MOSCOW, February 27 (Sputnik) — He added that Kiev's inability or unwillingness to make efforts to lift the transport blockade of Donbass was "puzzling."

    "The only thing I can say in this case is that Moscow has repeatedly said… that the transport blockade, which takes place these days… seriously destabilizes the situation, hinders the settlement process, prevents de-escalation of the situation, especially on the contact line in Donbass. Ultimately, it further distances us from being able to approach the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Peskov told reporters.

    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.

    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. In 2015, the two sides reached a ceasefire deal brokered by the leaders of the Normandy quartet including Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine in Minsk. Throughout 2016, the Normandy Four and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have been stressing the need to implement Minsk provisions but Kiev has stalled in giving a special status to Donbass as specified in the agreement. Ceasefire violations have continued.


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