13 Dec 2018 11:43

Russian Foreign Ministry: Kyiv preparing for Donbas offensive to reach Russian border

MOSCOW. Dec 13 (Interfax) - Kyiv is preparing for an armed provocation on the Donbas contact line for the purpose of rapid advancement towards the Russian border in the Mariupol sector, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova.

"There is information that Kyiv is planning to stage an armed provocation on the contact line in the coming days in order to use martial law, which is in effect in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions amongst others, for organizing a swift offensive in the Mariupol sector, seizing areas [under control of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic] adjoining the Sea of Azov, and reaching the Russian border," Zakharova said at a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

"The group of Ukrainian forces, which has been enlarged with troops and hardware over the past few months, is expected to accomplish these combat missions," she said.

"Between December 1 and 7 alone, OSCE monitors detected 109 pieces of heavy weapons and hardware prohibited by the Minsk Agreements outside designated storage sites," Zakharova said.

"In the scenario prepared by Kyiv strategists, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko needs a sharp escalation as a breath of life in order to stop the continuing decline of his popularity rating before the election," she said.