US asks Russia to ‘immediately’ observe ceasefire in Ukraine

RSTV Bureau

White-House-2The United States has asked Russia to “immediately” observe ceasefire in Ukraine. The US accused Russian and separatist forces of targeting international monitors.

The US statement comes amid an upsurge in violence with Ukraine reporting that 16 of its soldiers were wounded in about 24 hours. The latest casualties came despite a truce agreed on Monday by Russia and Ukraine.

“We call on Russia and the separatist forces it backs to immediately observe the ceasefire, withdraw all heavy weapons, and allow full and unfettered access to the OSCE monitors,” the State Department said.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States was closely monitoring growing violence in eastern Ukraine and the failure of the combined Russian and separatist forces to abide by a ceasefire agreed to two years ago in Minsk.

“We condemn Friday’s targeting of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) monitors and the seizure of an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle by combined-Russian separatist forces,” Toner said, referring to the civilian observers with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

“It is imperative that these forces halt their attacks on civilian infrastructure, including the Donetsk water filtration station.”

The three-year-long Ukraine conflict has claimed more than 10,000 lives.

(With inputs from agencies)