Chief of Ukrainian delegation on Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on Donbas settlement Leonid Kravchuk, offered that the Russian counterparts ensure compliance with the comprehensive ceasefire in Donbas starting April 1, but the Russian delegation showed no support for the initiative.
The Ukrainian delegation reported this following the general meeting of the TCG at the level of delegation heads on Wednesday, March 31.
No proposal supported by the Russian side
The meeting kicked off with a proposal by Kravchuk "to ensure, from 00:00 on April 1, compliance with the full and comprehensive preservation of the ceasefire regime, the gross violation of which by the Russian side last week claimed the lives of four Ukrainian servicemen."
The proposal was supported by the special envoy of the OSCE chairperson-in-office, Heidi Grau, and coordinator of the security subgroup, chairman of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission Yaşar Halit Çevik.
As reported, Turkish diplomat Çevik proposed to adopt a jointly agreed TCG statement to confirm the parties' desire to strengthen the ceasefire and save the lives of civilians and military.
The Ukrainian delegation said that two of the three TCG representatives made concrete proposals to ensure a return to a full and comprehensive ceasefire.
"Unfortunately, neither the proposal of Leonid Kravchuk nor that of OSCE representatives found support from the Russian delegation," the statement underlines.
It is also emphasized that "this happened despite the relevant statements by the leaders of Germany and France, in which they yesterday stressed the need to observe the ceasefire in Donbas."
In this regard, Kravchuk said: "I fail to understand why the Russian delegation doesn't consider it necessary to focus on saving people's lives."
Kuleba and Blinken held a phone call
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba discussed during a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in the security sector due to the escalation of the military conflict in Donbas and Crimea.
"I held a productive and focused call with Antony Blinken as Russia continues to systemically aggravate the security situation in the east of Ukraine and in Crimea. Discussed ways of strengthening security cooperation," Kuleba wrote on his Twitter on Wednesday evening.
In turn, the U.S. Secretary of State reitearted his country's unwavering support for Ukraine.
"The United States unwavering support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We continue to support Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic integration in the face of Russia's ongoing aggression in Donbas and Crimea," Blinken said.
Earlier, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak said that Russia is increasing its armed forces near the state border of Ukraine in the north, east and south - some 28 battalion tactical groups were settled in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea.