The United States is “deeply concerned” over intensified attacks by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Over the past several days, heavy shelling has occurred in Donetsk, contravening a ceasefire that was agreed to by Russia, Ukraine, and Russia-backed rebels in the Minsk agreements signed September 5th and September 19th.
In a statement, White House National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan also expressed concern over numerous reports, including those from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, that “Russian-backed and supplied separatists are moving large convoys of heavy weapons and tanks to the front lines of the conflict.”
On November 8, the OSCE reported that its Donetsk-based monitors had observed convoys of dozens of unmarked “heavy weapons and tanks…containing personnel in dark green uniforms without insignia” moving through the territory. That report followed claims by the Kyiv government that Moscow was sending troops and tanks across the border to aid the rebels.
The OSCE confirmed “a recent increase in Russian troops and equipment along the eastern border of Ukraine,” and said that “Russia continues to demonstrate its lack of regard for international agreements and its determination to further destabilize Ukraine.”
At a press briefing November 10, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said that pro-Russian separatists in the Dombas region “seem intent on making gains well beyond the lines agreed to in Minsk. There are no excuses,” she insisted, “for these ongoing and blatant violations of the Minsk protocol by Russia and its proxies.”
“If Russia is truly committed to peace in Ukraine,” Spokesperson Psaki said, “it will stop fueling the fire with new weapons and support for separatists and withdraw all Russian military personnel and equipment from Ukraine, and will call on its proxies to stop ceasefire violations, release hostages and close the international border."e