Note: We normally have no need to translate and post press Secretary Zakharova’s weekly briefings, since they are available in English already, just click the British flag icon. But English for the current briefing still drops off with the note: “to be continued.” So we do the portion on Donbass from the original Russian.
The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. In their struggle to preserve power, the Kiev leadership keeps on pretending to be the victim of an imaginary “Russian aggression.” This is done against the background of blatant sabotage of the Minsk “Complex of Measures,” which, of course, causes great concern on our part. At the same time, Western politicians are often in support of Kiev in the Donbass.
So, in February, there were 10 foreign delegations, and in the first ten days of March – already three.
It is impossible not to notice that on the eve of such visits to the Donbass, as if by request, there is an aggravation of the situation. Thus, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) from February 8 to 12 on the line of separation of the parties noted a decrease in the number of cease-fire violations. But, when the Norwegian Ambassador T.Horpestad (February 13) and the French ambassador N. Dupont (February 14) arrived in the so-called Zone of Operations of the combined forces (EP), the situation changed dramatically. On the morning of February 13, international observers recorded a significant increase in the number of shelling. Only in the Donetsk direction, the number of explosions compared with the previous day went from 30 to 430.
A similar situation is observed during the “study” trip to the south-east of Ukraine, be US Senator Joni Ernst (February 20).
So, if 2 days before her arrival in Donbass on February 18, the mission’s report notes a decrease in the number of shelling, then from February 19 in the Donetsk region there was a more than fivefold increase from 90 to 475 on February 20. The situation was aggravated by the March 4 visit to Mariupol of the defense attache at the US embassy in Ukraine, T. Wofford. On this day, the 79th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine bombarded the village of Sakhanka, located 24 kilometers from Mariupol, with their artillery and killed a civilian.
This was not the only attack that Sakhanka was subjected to over the past week. On March 1, a functioning school area was shelled from mortars. By luck, none of the children was hurt.
It seems that the Ukrainian military command for propaganda purposes on the eve of the arrival of foreign “guests” deliberately provokes the aggravation of the situation in the Donbass. At the same time, wishing to demonstrate evidence of the alleged “Russian aggression” the lives of civilians and are at risk byKiev and civilian dwellings are being destroyed.The town of Kominternovo, was indicative of this: just in March, it was shelled by the mortar units of the 79th brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine 10 times. Nine houses and one administrative building were destroyed.
This information is confirmed by the OSCE SMM observers, who recorded damage to civilian infrastructure in Kominternovo on March 3 due to shelling by Ukrainian artillery.
At the same time, on March 5, the power line in the Kominternovo region was damaged by the artillery fire of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, leaving more than one thousand five hundred civilians without electricity.
Deliberate shelling of the Donetsk filtering station by the Armed Forces of Ukraine continues. So, on March 3, the OSCE SMM recorded 51 artillery shells bursting in the immediate vicinity of the station, which provides drinking water not only for the population of the DPR, but also for residents of the territory controlled by Kiev, Donetsk Region.
We urge the OSCE SMM to intensify observational activities in the Donbass. What is needed is not fragmentary information, but a comprehensive look at the military preparations of the Armed Forces of Ukraine; it is necessary to clearly define the side that provokes the worsening of the situation and the shelling, their consequences in terms of civilian casualties, and the destruction of civil infrastructure. We demand from the SMM a detailed thematic report to this effect.