The Russian Federation has not been and cannot be a mediator in the conflict it fomented and continues to fuel. All persistent assurances by Russian officials about the alleged “mediating” role of the Russian Federation in the Donbas peace process arouse indignation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine said in its statement.
“Almost seven years ago, the Russian Federation launched an undeclared war against Ukraine. Having carried out an illegal occupation and attempted annexation of the Crimean peninsula, the Kremlin has moved on to the next stage of its armed aggression in the Ukrainian Donbas. Units of the Russian special forces and other armed formations of the Russian Federation, Russian military “on vacation” and military advisors – without any insignia – methodically, purposefully and in an organised way seized local government bodies, police departments, Ukrainian military facilities in Donbas, and carried out other force operations against the Ukrainian army and law enforcement officers. Continuous artillery and rocket attacks were conducted from the territory of the Russian Federation on the positions of the Ukrainian border guards and the Armed Forces. Russian military units, using heavy equipment and other means, carried out a military invasion and took a direct part in hostilities on the territory of Ukraine. Many Russian servicepersons were taken prisoner during these hostilities. Russia’s military presence in the occupied part of Donbas continues to this day,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reminded.
The Ministry also stressed that the Kremlin must stop misleading the entire civilised world by making groundless statements that Russia is not a party to the conflict. The direct role and participation of the Russian Federation in the war in eastern Ukraine has been documented and is known to the international community.
“The Minsk agreements reached through the mediation of the OSCE, as well as Germany and France, and the Normandy format agreements, the implementation of which continues to be the basis for a political and diplomatic settlement of the conflict, are deliberately not implemented by Russia from the first day. It is worth mentioning the capture of Debaltseve and other Ukrainian territories six years ago – within a few days after Russia signed the Minsk Package of Measures dated 12 February 2015 and the decision to cease fire along the contact line,” the Ministry said in the statement.
Ukrainian diplomats called on Russia to acknowledge its responsibility for unleashing an armed aggression against Ukraine; withdraw its weapons, army, mercenaries, and armed formations it leads, provides, and finances; and return Ukraine full control over its internationally recognised borders.
Meanwhile, Russian news reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin, during a conversation with the editors-in-chief of Russian media outlets, which took place in a closed format on 10 February, assured that Russia “will not leave Donbas, no matter what.”
As a reminder, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov recently said that losses from the occupation of Donbas currently amount to about UAH 375 billion.
“According to the calculations and expert opinions of the Centre for Economic Strategies, losses in Donetsk and Luhansk regions alone amount to UAH 375 billion. And this is without taking into account the value of assets that are currently located in the occupied territories,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
He added that according to the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, the cost of restoring the Donetsk and Luhansk regions exceeds USD 21 billion.