Russian MFA warns of large-scale offensive by Ukrainian army in Donbass

The Russian Foreign Ministry welcomes the beginning of another ceasefire in Donbass, but fears that Kiev is preparing for a large-scale offensive operation, Russian permanent representative to the OSCE Alexander Lukashevich said. 

"According to the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), the number of shootings in Donbass has dramatically decreased," Lukashevich said, speaking at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on March 8. 

At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that during the past month the Ukrainian security forces had "pulled up their armaments to the line of contact in violation of the Minsk agreements." In his estimation, this is "a dangerous signal that Kiev is preparing to conduct a large-scale offensive operation." 

In these conditions, according to Lukashevich, the maximum efforts of the SMM to monitor the contact line, 24-hour monitoring of hot spots are required, since observers have a deterrent effect on the parties. 

"It is necessary to provide the SMM with freedom of movement on the contact line, refusing the 'mine danger' tricks <...> In case of resumption of shelling, it is necessary to report promptly, to try to clearly determine who started it. The technical means of SMM, primarily drones, must patrol the contact line," he believes. 

Lukashevich added that Russia hopes for an early resumption of the work of the patrol base in Popasnaya. 

DONi News Agency