Asked to comment on the OSCE reports saying that both the Ukrainian military and the Russian-backed militants open fire in the Donbas, Volker said that Ukrainians certainly engage with the enemy but called to bear in mind that everything happens on Ukraine’s territory.
He believes it is normal for a country to have troops in its own territory while it is not natural for a country to have its soldiers deployed in a foreign state which actually takes place in eastern Ukraine.
He says there are certain ceasefire violations from the Ukrainian side but the overwhelming majority and the most serious violations occur on the territory occupied by Russia.
According to the ambassador there is a difference between violations of ceasefire committed by the parties to the conflict.
If you are defending a village in your country, he says, and you get under mortar shelling, this is one kind of violation but when you fire back in the direction from which the shells came, this is a different story. According to him, this features the phrase ‘both sides’ which is exact definition but it also distorts the nature of the problem.