Deal reached to restore truce between Ukraine forces, ethnic Russians: OSCE
Iran Press TV
Thursday, 23 December 2021 8:13 AM
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says negotiators from Ukraine, Russia, and the intergovernmental organization have agreed on a deal to restore a full ceasefire between Ukrainian government troops and ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.
"I was delighted that participants expressed their strong determination to fully adhere to the Measures to Strengthen the Ceasefire agreement of 22 July 2020," the special representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG), Ambassador Mikko Kinnunen, said in a statement on Wednesday.
A deadly conflict erupted between ethnic Russians and Ukrainian government forces in the Donbass region of Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine as well as the European Union (EU) and the United States claim that Moscow has a hand in the ongoing conflict, which has killed more than 13,000 people so far, imposing sanctions on Russia. Moscow denies the allegation.
Back in July 2020, a ceasefire deal was reached between Kiev and the ethnic Russians and helped significantly reduce the number of casualties last year. In recent months, however, the two sides have blamed each other for violations of the truce.
"This (new agreement) is of utmost significance for the people living on both sides of the contact line," Kinnunen added.
Citing the special monitoring mission reports, he said that the security situation along the contact line remained volatile, with about five times more ceasefire violations per day on average recorded in December 2021 compared with the same month in the previous year.
Furthermore, Kiev, along with the West, claims that Russia has deployed heavy-armored vehicles, electronic warfare systems and nearly 100,000 soldiers on its border, accusing it of preparing to wage war on Ukraine. Russia, in turn, says Ukraine has deployed half of its army, or 125,000 troops, to the Donbass, calling it "very dangerous adventurism" by Kiev.
Russia denies preparing to wage war on Ukraine and says it wants legal guarantees over its security from the US and NATO, demanding that the alliance stop further eastward expansion.
Last week, the Kremlin presented the West with comprehensive security demands in two draft documents, one sent to NATO and another to Washington.
Separately on Wednesday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that he expected negotiations with Washington on Moscow's security demands to begin in January.
"It has been agreed that at the very beginning of next year, the first round (of talks) should be bilateral contact between our negotiators and American ones," Lavrov said.
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