The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine expresses its indignation at the unilateral decision of the Russian Federation, on 19 December 2017, to withdraw military personnel of the Russian Armed Forces from the Joint Centre for Ceasefire Control and Coordination and stabilization at the line of contact, headquartered in Soledar, Donetsk Region.
We regard this unprecedented step by Russia as yet another provocation that significantly undermines the Minsk Agreements and an attempt at relieving itself, as a party to the conflict, of any responsibility for the consequences of its armed aggression against our country.
Such a step reaffirms that Moscow continues trying to force Ukraine and international partners to begin a so-called “direct dialogue” with the militants of the illegal armed formations that conduct their activities in the temporarily occupied areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions of Ukraine under total control and with full support by the Russian Federation.
By making this decision, the Kremlin significantly increases security risks for the OSCE SMM while aiming at, inter alia, imposing on Ukraine and its international partners an unacceptable scenario of deployment of UN peacekeepers in Donbas.
As a party to the conflict in Donbas, the Russian Federation bears full responsibility for development of the security situation and guaranteeing security of the OSCE SMM observers in the territory temporarily beyond control of the Government of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian part of the JCCC will carry on its work as usual, cooperating with the OSCE SMM in a bilateral format and making every effort possible in order to ensure security of the Mission personnel as it monitors the situation within its mandate.
Ukraine requests its international partners to intensify political and diplomatic pressure on the Kremlin aimed at the avoidance of steps that could disrupt the Minsk Agreements.