Russia is not only a party to the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, but the prime driver of it as Russia started the bloody confrontation and continues to fuel it.

“Last week, and most weeks, we in this Permanent Council hear Russia deny involvement in the conflict it initiated and continues to sustain in Ukraine.  Russia has brought peace negotiations to a standstill by refusing to participate unless Ukraine implicitly recognizes Russia’s proxies in Donetsk and Luhansk by directly engaging with them – a move which would only advance Russia’s false narrative that the conflict in the Donbas is an internal conflict,” Courtney Austrian, Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to OSCE, said at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting on September 30.

According to the U.S. diplomat, these Russia’s attempts also aim to mask the truth – “Russia is not only a party to this conflict but began this conflict and continues to directly fuel and lead it despite signing onto to a peace deal more than seven years ago.”

In addition, Austrian commented on the Russian delegation’s constant statements, in which it focuses only on the Minsk Package of Measures as necessary for the implementation of the peace agreements.

The U.S. representative drew attention to the fact that the Minsk agreements – as also defined on the website of the Russian Foreign Ministry – consist of three documents: the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014, and the Minsk Package of Measures of 12 February 2015.

“I urge you to focus on the fact that Russia’s own MFA rightly mentions three specific components of the Minsk agreements.  It seems to us that if Russia is going to continue to demand Ukraine fulfill its Minsk commitments, Russia should fulfill all of its own, and stop parsing the Minsk agreements to reflect only those parts Russia wishes to see enacted,” the Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Mission to OSCE stressed.

As the diplomat underscored, Russia continues to supply its proxies in eastern Ukraine with weapons, funding, and leadership, “making Russia not only a party to the conflict, but the prime driver of it.”