22:46 GMT21 October 2020
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    Moscow is concerned over Canada's decision to extend the stay of its military mission in Ukraine and over Canada's supplies of ammunition to Ukraine's Armed Forces, because the ammunition could later end up in the conflict zone in Donbass, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On March 6, the government of Canada announced it will extend its military training mission in Ukraine until the end of March 2019.

    "We took seriously the decision of Canada to extend by two years the military mission in Ukraine… Instead of exerting pressure on Kiev to compel it to fully implement its obligations under the Minsk agreements, Ottawa frankly plays into the hands of supporters of a military solution of the situation in Donbass, and also condones the continuation of the bloodshed," Zakharova said.

    In 2015, Canada first sent 200 troops to Ukraine under Operation UNIFIER to provide training and capacity-building assistance to the country's military forces.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled 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. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.


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