Kiev’s statement on seizure of “grey zone” in Donbass a provocation, says Moscow

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MOSCOW, December 29. /TASS/. Russia views Kiev’s remarks about an alleged seizure of the so-called “grey zone” in Donbass as a provocation, as it pursues a goal of blocking the peace process, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

“We are indignant at the remarks by Y. Biryukov, an adviser to the Ukrainian president, aired by Ukrainian … television channel on December 26. The politician said as follows, “Practically, the entire so-called ‘grey zone’ has been fully liberated and taken under control’,” the ministry said.

“It is well-known that the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ dangerous approach to the militia’s positions, which is stemming from Ukrainians’ seizure of the ‘grey zone’, heightens drastically the risk of direct fighting,” the Russian Foreign Ministry stated. “As the disengagement of service personnel and weapons is being blocked at three pilot sites, agreed by the Normandy Four leaders in Berlin in 2016, this looks as an undisguised provocation meant to derail the peace process.”

According to Moscow, the OSCE SMM has turned a blind eye to the fact.

“These facts have not been reflected in the SMM reports,” it said.

“We hope that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine does provide a principled assessment of the Ukrainian side’s steps,” the ministry pointed out. “It will help to avoid a possible escalation, to maintain the ceasefire and implement the corresponding provisions of the Minsk ‘package of measures’.”.

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