Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Ukraine: Russia's withdrawal of truce monitors undermines peace deal

Russia's withdrawal of truce monitors
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Monday it was "outraged" by Russia's withdrawal from the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the Ceasefire (JCCC) in Ukraine's eastern conflict-hit region of Donbas.

"We regard this unprecedented step of Russia as another provocation, which essentially undermines the Minsk accords," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

Despite Russia's withdrawal, the Ukrainian side of the JCCC will continue its activities in a regular mode and will cooperate with the special monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which is deployed in eastern Ukraine, the statement said.

The JCCC, consisting of Russian and Ukrainian officers, was set up in September 2014 by an agreement between Russia and Ukraine to assist the implementation of the Minsk agreements on a settlement in Ukraine.

Earlier on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the Russian military will abandon the JCCC due to Kiev's "obstruction" to their activities.

The conflict between government troops and pro-independence insurgents started in Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, together known as Donbas, in April 2014.

The Minsk agreements, reached in September 2014 and February 2015 respectively, envisage a ceasefire, a withdrawal of heavy weaponry from the contact line, a prisoner exchange and local elections in Donbas, among other measures.

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