Representatives of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) have informed OSCE officials in Ukraine about the Kiev government’s planned offensive that may take place later this month, Russia’s OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.
"During the Contact Group session on December 4, representatives of certain districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions expressed their concern about the situation along the line of contact. A letter was handed over to the head of the [OSCE Special Monitoring Mission] SMM in Ukraine and coordinator of the security subgroup Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, as well as the special representative of the current OSCE chairmanship, Ambassador Martin Sajdik, about the buildup of Ukrainian Armed Forces weaponry and a possible offensive by the Ukrainian troops in the south of the Donetsk Region," Lukashevich told a session of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Permanent Council in Vienna.
"To be more precise, I’m referring to [the military buildup in] the area of Mariupol, aimed at seizing Donetsk-controlled territories near the Azov Sea coast and at establishing control over the border with Russia," the Russian envoy went on.
Lukashevich said that the European Pressphoto Agency has published an image of several dozens of tanks in the Kiev government-controlled Azov Sea port city of Mariupol, dated December 2.
"We urge the SMM to step up its monitoring of the situation in territories along the line of contact which are under control of the armed forces of Ukraine, for the purpose of early warning," he added.
The Russian diplomat also mentioned the martial law, imposed in ten Ukrainian regions, including Mariupol. The Kiev government’s move followed the Kerch Strait provocation, in which Russian border guards had to detain three Ukrainian warships that violated Russia’s border.
"As the presidential elections in Ukraine are drawing closer, its government is making new risky political steps with the goal of staying in power. The martial law, declared after the armed provocation in the Black Sea, is a clear sign of the Kiev government’s readiness to fuel military hysteria ahead of the election campaign. There is a possibility that Ukraine will not limit itself to the current situation and will try to gain maximum political profit from escalation along the line of contact," Lukashevich said.