Ukraine military ‘to boost forces in the east’ as Poroshenko calls to stick to Minsk accord
Sun 25 Jan 2015 at 14:39
NNA – Kiev “sees no alternative” to the Minsk ceasefire accords, President Petro Poroshenko said. However, the Ukrainian military is building up troops in the east to conduct “an adequate response” to the militia advancement, the Defense Ministry stated.
The violence in eastern Ukraine escalated recently with the ceasefire deal penned in Minsk last year finally shattering. Ukraine last week attempted to launch a massive offensive operation against militia positions, but it ended in failure. Their opponents have since pressed forward and gained ground, advancing in the direction of the port city of Mariupol in the south of the Donetsk region.
Amid an apparent setback for the Ukrainian military, President Petro Poroshenko called for sticking to the Minsk accord.
“The Minsk agreement is a priority for us, we don’t see any alternative to it. We will not allow it to be undermined. Everything relies on it. Now we must implement it comprehensively and accurately,” the Ukrainian president said.
The ceasefire deal between Kiev and the militia forces, which was sponsored by the OSCE and Russia, was never fully implemented. It helped tone down the violence, but OSCE monitors reported regular violations committed by both sides of the conflict. The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk Republics accused Kiev’s troops of launching regular attacks on residential areas of Donetsk, Lugansk and other cities.
While the tension continued, Kiev angled for switching the peace negotiation from Minsk to another format – the so-called “Normandy format” – which would exclude the rebels and include several Western nations. Attempts for talks were virtually abandoned recently, with two key meetings canceled due to failure to agree on an agenda.
As Poroshenko demonstrates a willingness to talk directly to the rebels, his military are building up troops in the east of the country.
“To respond adequately to the actions of the ‘terrorist’ groups, we are continuing to build up reserves in practically all sectors where combat action is being conducted,” Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak said on Sunday.
The militia said they no longer trusted Poroshenko and his calls for peace after months of the ceasefire.
“Poroshenko is cynical beyond all limits. For us the Minsk process was a question of life for our civilians. For Kiev it was a cover [for preparing the offensive],” Denis Pushilin, a Donbass representative in Minsk, told Interfax.
“Why do they pretend in the US and Europe that they don’t see Kiev’s aggressive policies? It’s business for them in Washington, and we are being killed here,” he added.
The violence in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 5,000 lives, according to the latest UN count, and sent some 1.5 million refugees fleeing for their lives to Russia or other parts of Ukraine.–RT