Kiev disregarding Minsk agreements with French, German Connivance
Russia stresses that Ukraine is violating the Minsk agreement with complicity from Germany and France, and Kiev bombs several towns in Donetsk.
Ukraine is openly flouting the Minsk agreements with the connivance of France and Germany, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian Saturday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced after the French-initiated phone call with the Russian top diplomat highlighted to his counterpart the lack of progress in resolving the internal Ukrainian conflict, attributing the stagnation to the "stubborn reluctance of Kiev to fully comply with the requirements of the Minsk agreements."
Lavrov said the requirements include direct dialogue with the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk "and enshrining the special status of Donbass as part of Ukraine in the constitution."
Lavrov also told the French top diplomat Ukraine kept carrying out military provocations in the breakaway Donbass region.
"It was emphasized that Kiev, with the connivance of Paris and Berlin, which are participants in the Normandy format, defiantly refuses to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk 'Package of Measures'," the Russian ministry revealed.
Russia also highlighted that Ukraine had been building up military forces at the contact line in Donbass, conducting a campaign of militarization of the population, and continuing armed provocations.
DPR Ministry of Emergency Situations said Donetsk had already evacuated 6,600 people, including nearly 2,500 children, over a dramatic escalation of tensions with Ukraine.
Shelling on Donetsk
The self-proclaimed Donetsk People's republic announced Saturday that the Ukrainian Armed Forces shelled the city of Donetsk using six 82mm shells, in addition to using lightweight weapons.
The DPR's representative office in the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission reported that two towns in the self-proclaimed republic had been shelled with heavy caliber shells, prohibited under the Minsk agreements.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), said Friday a mass evacuation of the population to Russia has been organized over the threat of Ukrainian invasion.
"When the enemy shells the settlements of the republic, the life and health of our citizens may be endangered," he said, explaining that as of February 18, the authorities organized a mass centralized evacuation of their population to Russia.
An explosion had been heard Friday next to the government headquarters in Donetsk, Al Mayadeen correspondent reported after news agencies reported that a huge explosion was heard in Donetsk's city center.
Our correspondent had also reported that Ukrainian shelling had begun on Donetsk, and the authorities sounded the air raid sirens.
Donetsk plans to evacuate some 700,000 civilians from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, the DPR's ministry of emergency situations announced late Friday.