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 US blames Russia and Russian-backed militants of truce violation in Donbas

The U.S. puts blame on combined Russian-separatist forces for impeding the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) and threatening its monitors, as well as desrupting the cease-fire.

Censor.NET informs citing speech on the ongoing Russia's violations in Ukraine delivered by U.S. mission to the OSCE Chargé d'Affaires Kate M. Byrnes to the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, Feb. 4.

"The United States notes with deepening concern the increasing violence along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine. Over the past weekend, cease-fire violations more than quadrupled from the previous week.... The security situation in eastern Ukraine is deteriorating. The presence and use of heavy weapons near the line of contact kills soldiers and civilians and undermines Minsk implementation," she said.

U.S. mission to the OSCE Chargé d'Affaires also recalled that the separatists routinely denied the SMM access to the Ukrainian-Russian border, while Russia unilaterally blocked the expansion of the OSCE Border Observation Mission beyond the current two small checkpoints.

Read more: Russia vexed by check of its JCCC representatives on Ukrainian border

"As the United States and other participating states have stressed, there is a direct linkage between border monitoring and SMM efforts to monitor ceasefire and weapons withdrawal agreements. In addition, the separatists continue to make direct threats against the SMM itself.

"On Jan. 30 a "DPR" member and a Russian armed forces officer attached to the JCCC told the SMM that if it flew UAVs over the so-called "DPR" outside of a small air corridor, they could not guarantee its safety. Continued access restrictions and threats indicate that combined Russian-separatist forces are attempting to hide from the SMM, and by extension the international community, the presence of large numbers of military personnel, weapons, and materiel on Ukrainian territory," Kate Byrnes said.
   
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