The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses deep concern with the considerable worsening of the security situation in the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) zone within the past days as a result of the significant activation of Russia-backed militants. There is a constant escalation of the frequency of shelling of Ukrainian armed forces and infrastructure. Moreover, in violation of Minsk Agreements, the militants extensively use heavy weapons.
Only during July 14, 2015 the Ukrainian side documented 100 shellings of ATO forces’ positions by multiple rocket launchers, cannon artillery and tanks. As a result of these shellings, 8 Ukrainian soldiers were killed, 16 received wounds of various degrees of severity.
This display of aggression is the largest-scale violation of Minsk Agreements both in terms of the number of shellings and human losses since ceasefire was declared on February 15, 2015.
The most cynical fact in this context is that pro-Russian militants purposefully place multiple rocket launchers, artillery of 122 mm and 152 mm caliber as well as tanks in residential districts. This is a deliberate provocation by Russia-backed militants aimed at destruction of civilian objects and endangering the civilians.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine views the events of July 14, 2015 as a flagrant attempt of pro-Russian militants to disrupt the implementation of Minsk Agreements. Significant activation of shellings took place against the backdrop of active efforts of the Ukrainian side to implement the political part of the Package of Measures Regarding Decentralization and Local Elections Preparation. Namely, Ukraine adopted the Law of Ukraine on Local Elections and submitted for parliamentary consideration the Draft Law of Ukraine on Amending the Constitution of Ukraine regarding decentralization of power. These steps are fully aligned with Ukraine’s obligations and aimed at activation of the political process and peaceful settlement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine calls on the Russian side and Russia-backed militants to stop destabilizing the situation, withdraw heavy equipment according to the respective Package of Measures, cease supplying armaments and mercenaries on the territory of Ukraine and return to negotiations in the framework of working subgroups of Trilateral Contact Group aimed at full implementation of Minsk Agreements.