10:50 GMT19 February 2020
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    Senior officials from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) will travel on Thursday to Moscow on March 16 to discuss the deterioration of the Ukrainian crisis with Russian officials, the OSCE press service said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM) Chief Monitor Ertugrul Apakan, SMM's Principal Deputy Chief Monitor Alexander Hug and Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik are expected to inform the Russian officials about recent developments in security situation in conflict-hit eastern Ukraine and OSCE peace efforts in the region.

    Also on Wednesday, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Sebastian Kurz urged all the parties to the Donbas conflict to support the activities of the organization's Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM).

    "OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz today again adamantly called on all parties to the conflict in and around Ukraine to comply with their commitments and to actively support the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), against the backdrop of the latest escalation of risks for its staff and assets," the OSCE's press service said in a statement.

    The situation worsened in late January when the battles between Kiev forces and eastern Ukraine's militia intensified in the towns of Avdiivka and Yasynuvata in Donbass, where the population is suffering from the lack of running water and central heating.

    The Ukraine conflict began in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled legitimate President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Since then, the ceasefire regime has been regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.


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