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Donbas escalation: Blinken, Raab express support for Ukraine

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Washington | April 11, 2021 8:13:56 AM IST
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held telephonic talks with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and discussed the situation in Ukraine and expressed support for Kiev, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price on Saturday (local time).

"The Secretary and Foreign Secretary discussed Afghanistan and reaffirmed their support for Ukraine in the face of Russian provocations. They both emphasized the need for Moscow to immediately cease its military buildup and inflammatory rhetoric," Price said in a statement.

According to Sputnik, the top US diplomat is reportedly expected to travel to Brussels next week to discuss Russia's alleged military activities near the Ukrainian borders.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a press briefing on Friday that the US remained in contact with Russia, Ukraine as well as its European allies, on the current situation in southeastern Ukraine (Donbas).

Sputnik further reported that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday that Ukraine does not reject the idea of a military solution to the problem of Donbas, and in that case, no country, including Russia, would remain silent.

Peskov said that the current situation in Donbas is very unstable and "in general, creates the danger of a resumption of full-scale hostilities."

The Normandy Four format, which includes Russia, France, Germany, and Ukraine, was established in June 2014 to mediate the conflict in southeastern Ukraine, after the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, known together as Donbas, proclaimed independence following what they considered to be a coup in Kiev in February of that year. Kiev launched a special military operation against the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk (DPR and LPR) in 2014.

In 2015, the Normandy Four negotiated the so-called Minsk II protocol which stipulated a ceasefire in Donbas and sought a long-term political resolution to the conflict. During a Normandy summit in Paris in late 2019, all sides agreed that the Minsk agreements remained the basis of Donbas conflict resolution.

Despite the Minsk peace agreements, ceasefire violations continue in southeastern Ukraine. According to UN data, about 13,000 people have fallen victim to the Donbas conflict.

Sputnik also reported that earlier this month, a four-year-old boy was killed and his 66-year-old grandmother was injured in what locals and the DPR said was an attack of a Ukrainian strike drone.

The Russian Investigative Committee has opened multiple criminal cases against the Ukrainian security forces over the shelling of Donbas in recent days. (ANI)

 
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