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Donbas Holiday Ceasefire Supported on All Sides

Dec. 24, 2021 (EIRNS)--One outcome of the Trilateral Contact Group (Russia, Kiev, and Donbas representatives, meeting under the OSCE), conferring in Minsk on Dec. 22, was an agreement to implement the ceasefire first agreed on in July 2020. “Many months of our efforts to return to full compliance with the ceasefire have borne fruit. During today’s meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group, all parties expressed their determination to comply with the agreement of July 22, 2020 on measures to strengthen the ceasefire,” Andriy Yermak, the head of the President’s Office in Kiev, said yesterday. He called the ceasefire a step toward de-escalation in the Donbas. “We hope that this time the ceasefire will be sustainable and will save the lives of defenders of Ukraine and civilians. The upcoming Christmas and New Year holidays should be peaceful. May the silence finally reign in Donbas,” Yermak said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said yesterday that Moscow hopes that “Kiev will observe its liabilities on ensuring the lasting ceasefire in eastern Ukraine.” She said that while Donetsk and Luhansk have been observing the ceasefire since its inception, the Kiev side has not and has been continuing to shell the Donbas.

State Department spokesman Ned Price issued a statement yesterday welcoming the ceasefire announcement. “We applaud the efforts of the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and the Trilateral Contact Group and urge the ceasefire parties to fully adhere to their commitments for the shared security of people living in the area,” he said. “As the United States has made clear, the conflict in eastern Ukraine can be resolved only in an environment of de-escalation, such as yesterday’s announced ceasefire.”

However, this morning, each side is accusing the other of violations of the ceasefire. The Ukrainian army accused “Russian occupation troops” of three violations on Dec. 23 in Donetsk. In turn, Donetsk military spokesman Eduard Basurin said this morning that “Ukrainian fighters violated the ceasefire six times over the past week using 120 mm and 82 mm mortars, and grenade launchers.”

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