Monday, July 7
Following the end of a shaky ceasefire last week, Kiev’s army on Saturday recaptured the self-defense forces’ strongholds of Slavyansk and Kramatorsk. The military operation in Eastern Ukraine continues, causing new casualties among civilians.
Kiev’s military has again shelled the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine, using Grad multiple rocket launchers, causing casualties and damaging several buildings, Itar-Tass reports, citing the self-defense headquarters of the Lugansk People’s Republic.
At least 30 rockets were fired at Lugansk, the source said, adding that one of them hit a vehicle, killing several people who were inside it.
Within an hour after the bombing started, the self-defense forces responded with mortar shelling, following which the military stopped their offensive, Lugansk People’s Republic representatives said.
The Ukrainian military are attempting to encircle the cities of Donetsk and Lugansk to block access for the self-defense forces to get supplies, Andrey Lysenko, the speaker for the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, told journalists. He added that residents of the two East Ukrainian cities won’t be blocked.
“For local residents, that means that they are free to leave these towns, pass through checkpoints and be provided with aid,” Lysenko said, Itar-Tass reported.
There can be no excuses or pretexts for postponing the ceasefire in Ukraine, as civilians are suffering as a result of the confrontation, the number of refugees is increasing and the civilian infrastructure is being destroyed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference in Sofia, Bulgaria.
“We really want this goal [the ceasefire] to be obvious to all states that influence the sides [of the Ukrainian conflict] in one way or another – primarily to the EU. We believe that leading European states do realize their responsibility for what is happening, and we really want the US to understand that responsibility as well,” Lavrov said.
Belgrade supports all the initiatives on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis put forward by President Vladimir Putin, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandr Vucic said during a meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev.
Despite multiple calls from Moscow, Ukraine’s western partners, international organizations and the public, Kiev is pursuing its mass military campaign in the east of the country, resulting in casualties and the destruction of infrastructure.
“Kiev is turning a deaf ear to calls to save people’s lives,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Ukraine government forces “are destroying their own cities using tactics that even occupation forces hardly ever apply in hostile territory.”
On July 6, “the National Guard chasteners” were carrying out a mop-up operation in Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
“Local police employees have been arrested and taken to an unknown location. Everyone who is suspected of cooperation with the Donetsk People’s Republic militia are facing repressions; even those who’ve ever given an interview to Russian journalists are being arrested,” the statement reads.
Moscow hopes that the EU will adequately react to the situation and condemn “Kiev government’s criminal policy.”
Three bridges over roads leading into the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have been destroyed by explosions, blocking key access routes to the city.
Moscow is concerned with reports of eastern Ukrainian cities abandoned by self-defense forces still being shelled by Ukrainian troops.
“We are getting the most troubling information, saying that the Ukrainian troops continue mass shelling of the territories, like Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, which were abandoned by the self-defense forces,” said Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov. “That means that this whole punitive operation from start to end is an attempt to exert pressure on a significant part of the Ukrainian population which is dissatisfied, does not want to reconcile with the plans the authorities in Kiev are imposing on them.”
Dolgov has called for an immediate termination of the military operation by Kiev.
LATEST NEWS – 17:23 GMT
European Union ambassadors agreed in principle on Monday to put more people on the bloc’s Russia sanctions list over the crisis in Ukraine, an EU diplomat said.
The names of the people who will be targeted with asset freezes and travel bans will be worked out at another meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, the diplomat said. (Reuters)
SOURCE: Russia Today
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