Yelchenko: 35,000 troops in Russia-occupied Donbas supported by over 2,100 members of Russian military

11:56, 13 February 2019
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UN Photo/Evan Schneider

"The 35,000-strong armed force in occupied Donbas is supported by more than 2,100 members of the Russian military," he said at a UN Security Council meeting on February 12 on the fourth anniversary of the signing of the Minsk agreements.

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"What do these numbers speak of in terms of Russia's real intentions?" he asked. "Since 2015, Russia has sabotaged implementation of the ceasefire agreements a total of 18 times," he continued, adding that there were more than 54,000 ceasefire violations during that period.

"On almost 6,000 occasions, Russian forces used weapon systems prohibited under the Minsk agreements," he noted, emphasizing that Ukraine has withdrawn all proscribed weapons and regularly provides the OSCE with a detailed weapons inventory.

"Yet, there are numerous and regular cases of blatant violations, with the other side stationing heavy weapons in the immediate vicinity of the actual contact line, rather than the withdrawal line," Yelchenko stressed, noting also that there has been no progress in negotiations on creating an area free of heavy weapons near Mariupol.

"As of this February, Russian-armed formations in Donbas have 496 main battle tanks in their possession, comparable to the combined arsenals of Germany and France," he said.

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