Photo from UNIAN

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has expressed concern over the latest escalation in Donbas, which he calls "largest in recent years", noting Russia's direct involvement in aggravation.

"Ukraine and its partners state that Russia systemically aggravates the security situation in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and in Crimea while refusing to reaffirm its commitment to ceasefire.  Russia's current escalation is systemic, largest in recent years. Russia's actions have brought the situation to a dead end. The only way out is diplomacy," Kuleba said in a statement released by the MFA press service.

At the same time, Kuleba said Moscow "must cease escalating military tensions, immediately and unconditionally reaffirm its commitment to political-diplomatic means of resolving the conflict and recommit to ceasefire."

Read alsoZelensky: Russia trying to exert pressure on Ukraine by building up troops along borderThe top diplomat notes that Ukraine together with Germany and France as Normandy format mediators make everything possible to encourage Russia to engage constructively in negotiations, while other partners, including the U.S., Canada, the UK and NATO also support Russia's continued engagement in negotiations.

"Whatever disinformation Russia may promote now, I would like to assure that Ukraine prioritizes political-diplomatic means of resolving the conflict, because peace and human lives are fundamental values to the Ukrainian state," Kuleba concluded.

Donbas escalation

  • On March 26, Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to the Ukrainian delegation in the Trilateral Contact Group, said that since the latest ceasefire was announced – from July 27, 2020 – the invaders have killed 45 Ukrainian military, while since the start of 2021, a total of 21 Ukrainian soldiers have already been killed in action.
  • On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ruslan Khomchak, said that since year-start, Russia had delivered to Donbas 19,000 tonnes of fuel, 335 tonnes of ammunition, 35 military vehicles, three tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and special equipment.
  • According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the invaders are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training.
  • Russian occupation forces are keeping alert artillery units in combat readiness for use in certain areas, including in settlements located on the occupied territory of Ukraine.
  • Today, on April 1, Roman Mashovets, Deputy Chief of the President's Office, said that Russia is trying to disrupt the peace process. More than 570 ceasefire violations have been recorded since year-start.