WASHINGTON D.C. – On Sunday, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement condemning a Russian attack in Ukraine that targeted the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
“The United States is closely monitoring the growing violence in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks and the continuing failure of the combined-Russian separatist forces to honor the cease-fire called for under the Minsk agreements,” Mark Toner, acting spokesman for State, said. ”We condemn Friday’s targeting of OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) monitors and the seizure of a SMM unmanned aerial vehicle by combined-Russian separatist forces.”
“It is imperative that these forces halt their attacks on civilian infrastructure, including the Donetsk water filtration station,” Toner said. “We call on Russia and the separatist forces it backs to immediately observe the cease-fire, withdraw all heavy weapons, and allow full and unfettered access to the OSCE monitors.”
The government-run news agency TASS called on the United States to “closely study” the attack.
“Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has urged Washington to closely study the situation in Ukraine before making any comments following the attack on the OSCE monitoring mission,” the agency article published on Monday said.
“We believe it is essential to be more attentive in judging the situation, in particular when we identify the source of provocative actions,” Peskov said, responding to the U.S. demand for Russia to ensure the OSCE is treated fairly in Ukraine.
“The OSCE monitors have repeatedly stated that the Ukrainian forces are a source of provocative actions,” Peskov said. “We can say for a hundredth time that Russia is by no means a party to that conflict.”
This is not the first time the Trump administration has openly condemned Russian behavior in the region. Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, condemned “the aggressive actions of Russia” in recent statements at the UN.
“I consider it unfortunate on the occasion of my first appearance here I must condemn the aggressive actions of Russia,” Haley said. “It is unfortunate because it is a replay of far too many instances, over many years, in which United States representatives have needed to do that. It should not have to be that way.”
“We do want to better our relations with Russia,” Haley said. “However, the dire situation in eastern Ukraine is one that demands clear and strong condemnation of Russian actions.
“The sudden increase in fighting in eastern Ukraine has trapped thousands of civilians and destroyed vital infrastructure, and the crisis is spreading, endangering many thousands more. This escalation of violence must stop,” Haley said.
“The United States stands with the people of Ukraine, who have suffered for nearly three years under Russian occupation and military intervention,” Haley said. “Until Russia and the separatists it supports respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, this crisis will continue.”
Russian troops invaded eastern Ukraine after pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych stepped down in the aftermath of the anti-Russian Maidan protests. Russia has always denied that there were Russian army troops in Ukraine, and when it was proven there were, the Russians claimed that they were just “volunteers,” Breitbart reported.