Kremlin concerned about rising tensions in Donbass

Russia is deeply concerned about the rising tensions in Donbass and hopes that the Ukrainian leadership will be able to prevent the escalation in the region, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday. 

"We are indeed following the growing tensions along the line of contact with profound concern. We take note of more shelling of the Donbass territory by the Ukrainian armed forces or various units that Ukraine has close to the line of contact. We take note of the Ukrainian military servicemen entering those zones where they should not be after the end of the disengagement," he said.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, that all sparks profound concern. "We analyze the situation carefully. We hope that the Ukrainian leadership will be able to keep these units, which are either the regular army or something else, from further acts of provocation and from escalating tensions," Peskov stressed.

"We hope that Ukraine will remain committed to the agreements that have been reached within the Contact Group, will remain committed to the Ukrainian head of state’s signature under the Minsk Package of Measures," the Kremlin Spokesman noted.

The Contact Group on the settlement in Ukraine held a regular meeting on Wednesday. Russian envoy Boris Gryzlov said after the meeting that Ukraine had nullified most of the previously agreed security guarantees and was provoking an escalation of the conflict in Donbass. According to Gryzlov, the participants in the meeting discussed Ukraine’s latest ceasefire violations along the line of engagement. Gryzlov noted that observers recorded more shelling incidents in Donbass and confirmed that Kiev was deploying additional forces and military equipment to the region.

Normandy Four partners and situation in Donbass

Moscow expects that all Normandy Four partners (Germany, Russia, Ukraine, France) will use their influence to avoid a dangerous escalation of tensions in southeastern Ukraine.

"We expect that all our partners within the "Minsk Four" will also take note of the escalation of tensions on the line of contact and will use their influence in order to avoid this escalation crossing a dangerous line," the spokesman said.

"Right now, we document attacks from the side of Ukraine more and more often, and the most important thing here is that everyone uses their influence to avoid the resumption of a full-fledged civil war in Ukraine," he said.

When asked what will happen if Kiev crosses a "red line," the spokesman noted that this would require further analysis before any necessary decisions are made.

He explained that crossing a "red line" would mean "a resumption of full-fledged military activity." The spokesman assured that Moscow is encouraging the officials of the self-proclaimed Donbass republics to go back to a truce. "The Kremlin is doing this constantly," Peskov pointed out. (TASS)