Kravchuk: 'DPR' statement on 'pre-emptive fire' seen as Russia's possible withdrawal from peace deal / REUTERS

Head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas Leonid Kravchuk says the announcement circulated by the so-called "Donetsk People's Republic" ("DPR") that its armed formations have received permission for "pre-emptive fire" is seen as Russia's possible withdrawal from the peace deal on Donbas.

"We regard this announcement as a threat that the Russian Federation may unilaterally withdraw from the ceasefire regime and a threat that the implementation of the Minsk agreements may be disrupted," the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG quoted Kravchuk as saying in a statement on Telegram on March 3.

This was Kravchuk's statement in protest to the announcement by the so-called "people's militia of the DPR," who reported they "had obtained permission for pre-emptive fire to suppress the enemy's gun positions."

The Ukrainian delegation said consultations were underway.

Read alsoUkraine's envoy links increased shelling in Donbas with sanctions against MedvedchukEarlier, President of the European Council Charles Michel stated the lack of progress in negotiations with Russia and reiterated that Moscow "is a party to the conflict, not a mediator."

"Unfortunately Russia has not reciprocated Ukraine's positive steps to implement the Minsk Agreements. That's why our economic sanctions against Russia will remain in place. Russia is a party to this conflict, and not a mediator. We expect Russia to ensure the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has full access to the areas of Ukraine not controlled by the government. The COVID-19 pandemic must not be a pretext to further separate these regions from Ukraine. We also call on Russia to return to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination," Michel said.