This was stated by First Deputy Secretary of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Mykhailo Koval at the 7th session of the Interparliamentary Assembly of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Lithuanian Seimas, the Senate of the Republic of Poland, Censor.NET reports citing NSDC press service.
Koval noted that contrary to the Minsk agreements, the Russian military set up firing positions in the residential neighborhoods of occupied settlements and continue to shell Ukrainian army positions from banned heavy weapons.
He also added that Russian occupational troops constantly neglect their commitments in terms of heavy weapons' withdrawal. "Since the beginning of 2016, 699 cases of tanks, artillery systems over 100-mm, rocket systems, and mortars' presence near the demarcation line have been registered. The return of rocket systems to the contact line poses particular danger," he stressed.
In addition, Koval noted that Russian troops are preparing for the resumption of active offensive operations with the aim of reaching the administrative borders of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as well as securing a land corridor to Crimea. He added that "the imposition of international sanctions against the Russian Federation is effective but insufficient to force it to give up its aggressive plans for Ukraine."
At the same time, Koval noted that "Ukraine has withstood the very first Russian strike. The strategic development of the situation in our country's east shows that Kremlin's plans to establish a puppet quasi-state, the so-called Novorossiya, have been frustrated by Ukrainians."
The official stressed that the issue of the Donbas's return and Crimea's de-occupation is solved primarily through politico-diplomatic and international legal means, realizing that "our main value is preservation of human life, the lives of our heroic soldiers and civilians."
"For its part, the Ukrainian side is doing its utmost to ensure the implementation of the Minsk peace process. We've stopped active hostilities and ensured the removal of military equipment in accordance with the reached agreements," he said, adding that Ukraine is ready to continue to adhere to its stance on peaceful settlement in the Donbas but will act appropriately when necessary.
The first deputy secretary of the NSDC urged the audience to do everything possible to restore respect for international law and bring to justice those fueling international conflicts.
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