Blame for civilian casualties in Donbas lies with Kremlin – U.S. at OSCE

Blame for civilian casualties in Donbas lies with Kremlin – U.S. at OSCE

Ukrinform
The blame for civilian casualties in Donbas lies entirely with the Kremlin, which unleashed an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. Ambassador to the OSCE James S. Gilmore said this at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on November 18, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

“Between January 2017 and September 2020, the SMM reported 946 civilian casualties, including 161 deaths. Over this period, nearly one thousand men, women, and children have been wounded by small arms fire, shelling, or explosives, all due to the Kremlin’s decision to wage a multi-year campaign to destabilize Ukraine," he said.

The American diplomat stressed that Russia's attempts to frame this conflict as "internal" or to assert that Ukraine intentionally targets its own citizens were absurd.

"Russia caused this conflict, and the Kremlin alone holds the responsibility for the suffering, chaos, and destruction it has wrought," Gilmore said.

The ambassador added that the Russia-fomented and fueled conflict in Ukraine continued to rank among the highest concerns of the OSCE participating States.

“We have consistently called upon Russia to adhere to its Minsk commitments and withdraw its forces and material from eastern Ukraine.  Regrettably, the bloodshed continues, and civilians continue to pay the price for Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine. While the SMM report covers only the past three years, I remind you this Russia-led conflict is currently in its seventh year, and has caused the deaths of more than 13,000 Ukrainians," he stressed.

As Ukrinform reported, for the period from 1 January 2017 to 15 September 2020, the OSCE SMM confirmed 946 civilian casualties in Donbas, of which 161 were fatalities. Among those 946 civilians killed and wounded were 100 children.

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