Ukraine moved heavy artillery towards conflict zone, alleges Russia

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Jan 27, 2022, 08:33 PM IST
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File Photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin shows him attending a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" via a video conference call in Moscow, Russia November 30, 2021 Photograph:(Reuters)

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"Negotiations on a peaceful settlement have practically hit a dead end," said Russia's foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said

In a fresh escalation in war of words towards Ukraine, Russia on Thursday said that Ukraine was moving heavy artillery towards front line where pro-Russian separatists are fighting with Ukrainian forces. Russia also accused Ukraine of failing to engage in peace process.

The remarks came from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova. The words gave no sign that Moscow is willing to tone down its bitter criticism of Ukraine despite a two-hour call this week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden.

"Negotiations on a peaceful settlement have practically hit a dead end," Zakharova told reporters, referring to the seven-year conflict between Ukrainian and separatist forces in the eastern Donbass region.

The ministry's Twitter feed, quoting Zakharova, said: "With the support of NATO countries pumping the country with weapons, Kyiv is building up its contingent on the line of contact in Donbass."

She said Ukraine was only "imitating" the process of fulfilling its obligations under the 2014 and 2015 Minsk accords designed to end the conflict.

There was no immediate response from the Ukrainian side. Kyiv has denied Russian accusations it plans to seize back territory by force and President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said this week that he was hopeful of reaching a new ceasefire deal.

Tuesday's US-Russian call was dominated by tensions over Ukraine, with Biden voicing concern about a Russian military build-up near the border and telling Putin that Moscow would face serious economic consequences if it invaded.

Putin has said talk of an invasion is "provocative" and accused Ukraine and NATO of fanning tensions.

(With inputs from agencies)