Over the past day, February 20, seven ceasefire violations by the Russian occupation forces were recorded in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) area.

As the JFO Headquarters reports, 122mm artillery systems, 120mm mortars, sniping weapons and small arms, grenade launchers of various systems, and heavy machine guns were used to shell Ukrainian positions, civilian houses, power grid, and gas pipeline.

“Enemy attacks on our positions and peaceful populated localities, even in the temporarily occupied territories, are observed, as a rule, on the eve of meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group for the Peaceful Settlement of the Situation in Donetsk and Luhansk Regions, after meetings of the National Security and Defence Council dedicated to imposition of sanctions over facilitation of terrorism,” the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine quotes Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak as saying.

He also noted that, according to intelligence data, pro-Russian militants had opened fire on their own positions near the town of Horlivka, killing and wounding several people.

According to Khomchak, “the main purpose of provocations by the occupiers is to create the illusion of attacks launched by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the use of prohibited heavy weapons on populated localities, to discredit the JFO forces.”

The Commander noted that Ukrainian soldiers had opened fire in response to the enemy’s shelling, and OSCE representatives had been informed about the ceasefire violations. The Ukrainian military in the JFO area remain on stable positions, strictly adhering to the adopted agreements and norms of international humanitarian law, especially regarding security guarantees for the reconstruction of infrastructure.

As a reminder, the other day, the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas, Leonid Kravchuk, stated that the war, not the anti-terrorist operation, was going on in Ukraine, and Ukrainian soldiers were being killed, not “provoked.” He also stressed that Russia should not be given a chance to think that Ukraine could give up national strategic interests.

Kravchuk believes that there are no prospects of the negotiation process, and it is almost impossible to negotiate with the Russian Federation. Russia denies its involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine and has declared itself a “mediator” in this “conflict.”

Bohdan Marusyak

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