In her address to the Permanent Council, Kate M. Byrnes reminded that Ukraine had “called for an immediate period of silence to allow repairs to critical infrastructure” in Avdiyivka, adding that it is “also attempting to convene an emergency meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group and has urged the Special Monitoring Mission to step up patrols in the area.” “Nonetheless, combined Russian-separatist forces have insisted they will continue to fight until Ukrainian forces retreat,” Byrnes said. “Russia and the separatists initiated the violence in Avdiivka,” Joinfo.com reports with reference to UNIAN.
“We call on Russia to stop the violence, honor the ceasefire, withdraw heavy weapons, and end attempts to seize new territory beyond the line of contact,” said the chief of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE. Noting that the temperatures have dropped far below freezing in Ukraine, Byrnes emphasized that “without water, electricity, or heat, the lives of thousands of people are at stake”.
She urged the combined Russian-separatist forces to halt their attack on Avdiyivka: “They must stop the violence and allow repairs to critical infrastructure. Most of all, Russia and the separatists must demonstrate their willingness to fully abide by the ceasefire, a primary component of the Minsk agreements that they have so often broken.”
— U.S. Mission to OSCE (@usosce) 31 января 2017 г.
It should be recalled that 17,000 people including 2,500 childred in Avdiyivka town are still cut from the electricity, gas, water supply, and heating in the residential area is down amid bitter frosts of -17C at night.
US Department of State also issued a statement, calling “for an immediate, sustained ceasefire and full and unfettered access for OSCE monitors.”
“We also reaffirm U.S. support for full implementation of the Minsk agreements,” Mark C. Toner, acting spokesperson said in the statement.
According to The Washington Post, East Ukraine violence outburst may be Trump’s first test with Putin.
The uptick in fighting came just days after Trump’s first telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when the two discussed the conflict in Ukraine and declared plans to improve relations. The fighting in Ukraine, where Russia is supporting anti-government separatists, and the war in Syria were the basis for a frigid relationship between Putin and former president Barack Obama, the edition writes.
Trump, meanwhile, echoed Russian talking points about Ukraine during the campaign, saying that Putin had not sent his military into the country and that most people in Crimea, the peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, did not want to be a part of Ukraine.