UK calls on Russia to withdraw its army from Ukraine

The Monument to the Soviet Army, Sofia, a day after it has been coloured in the colours of Ukrainian national flag and the inscription "Glory to Ukraine".

The UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office have called on Russia to withdraw all its armed forces from Ukraine, and has described the so-called elections in Donbas, Ukraine as “illegitimate” and “illegal”.

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The Minsk Agreement was put in place to ensure security and humanitarian and economic measures as well as to support the political regulation of the conflict in Donbas.

It covers everything from establishing a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weaponry, to encouraging elections in the region, and enabling the distribution of humanitarian assistance.

However, the UK has said that the recent so-called elections are in violation of this agreement, and that they “undermine efforts to achieve peace in the region”.

“These so-called “elections” took place against the background of Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia is providing arms to the separatists in the Donbas, with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) reporting a flow of Russian military convoys crossing in and out of eastern Ukraine.

“We call on Russia to fully implement its commitments under the Minsk Agreements, to stop providing financial and military support to the separatists, and to withdraw its armed forces and military equipment from Ukrainian territory.

“We also strongly urge the Russian-backed separatists to stop obstructing OSCE monitors, and to grant safe and unhindered access so essential humanitarian assistance can be delivered to the 1.8 million people in need within non-government controlled areas.

“The UK again reiterates our commitment to diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine, so that legitimate and credible elections can be held in line with the Minsk Agreements and that this conflict be brought to an end.”

It was reported in July 2018 that Vladimir Putin had put forward a proposal to US President Donald Trump to hold a referendum to help resolve the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, however, nothing has been confirmed since by either party.

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