Lithuanian foreign minister unconvinced by Ukrainian separatists’ withdrawal statements


“These statements raise a lot of doubt. Our bitter experience makes us doubt the honesty and genuiness of such statements. We have to make evaluations based on the real situation and not statements,” the minister told BNS on Sunday.

According to Linkevičius, separatists announced the withdrawal of weapons with the caliber under 100mm soon after “heavy attacks”. Such statements are often used as propaganda instruments, he added.

The Ukrainian army and Russia-supported separatists on Sunday exchanged accusations for overnight attacks on residential areas of Donetsk which is controlled by the separatists. These were the first attacks in the city centre since the February truce.

Although both sides deny their responsibility, Linkevičius said there were “many facts” in social media, “proving that Donetsk came under separatists’ fire”.

On Sunday, the pro-Russian authorities of Donetsk and Luhansk announced their unilateral withdrawal of weapons with the caliber of under 10mm and called on Kiev to follow the suit.

According to Linkevičius, “attempts to demonstrate this as a gesture of good will are surprising as there’s no talking about the bigger caliber”.

More than 6,500 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict last April. The number of attacks has dropped since a truce was reached in Minsk in February but both sides regularly accuse each other of truce violations.

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