The February implementation plan of the Minsk agreement between Russia and Ukraine, which called, among other measures, for a ceasefire and a pull-back of heavy equipment from the frontline of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, continues to be flouted by the actions of Russia and Russia-backed separatists.
Recently, Russia-backed separatists launched an attack on the village of Pisky, where monitors from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the OSCE, were inspecting a checkpoint. Pisky is a Ukrainian village near the rebel held city of Donetsk.
U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf condemned the attack which injured up to seven Ukrainian troops and placed the OSCE monitors in danger.
Ms. Harf said that there is a disparity between what Russia and the separatists say and what they do. “This disparity threatens the Minsk Agreement and stability in the region. Russia and the separatists claim to be honoring the ceasefire,” she said, “but in reality they are violating it on a regular basis, and are encroaching further beyond the ceasefire line, including the recent attacks on an important bridgehead in Northern Luhansk.”
In recent testimony before Congress, Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and European Affairs Victoria Nuland said the world needs, in the coming days, to see a complete cease-fire in all parts of eastern Ukraine, as well as a pullback of all heavy weapons and an end to uninspected convoys of cargo over the Ukrainian border.
“We will judge Russia by its actions, not by its words,” said Assistant Secretary Nuland, “and the United States will, with our international partners, start rolling back sanctions on Russia, only when the Minsk agreements are fully implemented …If these are not implemented, there will be more sanctions, and we have begun consultations with our European partners on further sanctions pressure, should Russia continue fueling the fire in the east or in other parts of Ukraine.”