Ambassador Serhiy Kyslytsya / Photo from UNIAN

Permanent Representative to the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the United Nations, Ambassador Serhiy Kyslytsya says the Kremlin continues a strategy of escalation in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.

"The Kremlin continues to pursue a strategy of escalation in Donbas in flagrant violation of Russia's obligations they have undertaken as a party to the Minsk agreements," he said at a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting in New York City on February 18.

"The attack perpetrated today [Tuesday, February 18] near Zolote, on the fifth anniversary of the Debaltseve tragedy, is particularly cynical," he said.

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According to him, the Armed Forces of Ukraine properly responded to the offensive launched by the Russian occupation forces, who used weapons prohibited by the Minsk agreements.

"This was Ukraine's inherent right of self-defense," the diplomat said.

Read alsoU.S. Ambassador to UN: Russia continues to arm, train, lead, fight alongside its proxy forces in Donbas

As Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier said, the armed provocation "aims to disrupt the peace process in Donbas, which has begun to advance in small but continuous steps."

"The Ukrainian leadership has confirmed that our commitment to ending this war and to adhering to the reached agreements remains unshaken – as does our resolve to repel any acts of armed aggression against Ukraine," Kyslytsya said.

He emphasized that the agreements worked out by the Normandy Four leaders in December 2019 were not being implemented.

"Over the last two months our positions have been shelled more than 400 times. Thirteen Ukrainian servicemen have been killed and almost 60 wounded. Can anyone call this a frozen conflict? Or perhaps a low-intensity conflict? It is a war. The only ongoing war in Europe. A full-scale war unleashed by the Russian Federation," he said.

At the UNSC meeting, the diplomat showed a photograph of the Ukrainian soldier killed in the attack on February 18, 2020, accusing Russia of being involved in the crime.

He stressed that the Russian Federation, accusing the victim of its aggression, Ukraine, is trying to discredit the memory of those killed during the war in Donbas. "Russia tries to present the victim of its aggression as a perpetrator, which is one of the hallmarks of its information war against Ukraine. [This is a] cynical insult to the memory of 22-year-old soldier Maksym [Khitaylov], who was killed today while repelling the offensive of Russian forces near Novotoshkivske," he said.

As UNIAN reported earlier, Russian occupying forces on Tuesday, February 18, morning attacked Ukrainian defense positions in Donbas, using 120mm mortars proscribed by the Minsk agreements. Under fire cover, the Russian invaders began their offensive operation and attempted to advance across the contact line. One Ukrainian soldier was killed and another five were wounded amid the fight. The enemy's casualties included four killed and six wounded.