The situation at the line of contact has drastically escalated since May 1. The armed groups of Ukraine have been actively using weapons prohibited by the Minsk Agreements, including large-caliber artillery, and violated the ceasefire over 250 times.

The stepped-up attacks led to destruction of residential buildings and civil infrastructure. But most tragic accidents occurred on May 1, 4 and 7, when the AFU targeted the residents of Spartak, Sakhanka and Aleksandrovka, a woman was killed and five children were injured.

For 19 May days alone, a woman died and 11 people suffered injuries of varying degrees of severity. OSCE SMM reports confirm that all the civilian victims are residents of the Republics.

However, instead of investigating and bringing the perpetrators to justice, Kiev official representatives to the Contact Group refuse to sign specific ceasefire monitoring measures and to interact directly with a view to reducing escalation at the line of contact, thus effectively promoting the armed aggression of the AFU.

The Donetsk People’s Republic is ready to negotiate constructively and directly with authorized representatives of Kiev, as well as to fulfill joint agreements in good faith if Kiev fulfills these agreements in good faith too. But we cannot endlessly assume a peaceful disposition unilaterally, when our citizens continue to suffer: a civilian woman was again wounded in our territory in Yelenovka yesterday.

In this regard, I, as the Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, have decided to enhance the combat readiness of People’s Militia units in case of further aggressive behavior of Kiev. All necessary instructions have already been issued.

We call on the OSCE and the guarantors to the Minsk Agreements—the Russian Federation, France and Germany—to persuade the Ukrainian leadership not to escalate the conflict and to end their incendiary activities both at the line of contact and at the negotiation venue.