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A combatant from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on the line of contact in Donetsk. April 2, 2021.
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‘No one has been wandering’ The Kremlin’s spokesman answers questions about the movements of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine

Source: Meduza
A combatant from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on the line of contact in Donetsk. April 2, 2021.
A combatant from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic on the line of contact in Donetsk. April 2, 2021.
Alexander Ermochenko / Reuters / Scanpix / LETA

In recent weeks, both Kyiv and Washington have expressed concerns over a Russian military build-up near the country’s borders with Ukraine. This comes amid rising tensions in the war in Donbas, where the ceasefire reached last summer has begun to fray. During his daily press conference on Monday, April 5, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov fielded journalists’ questions about reports that a child was killed in the war zone over the weekend, and responded to concerns about the movements of Russian troops. According to Peskov, “this shouldn’t cause the slightest concern to anyone.”

Komsomolskaya Pravda: On Saturday, in the DNR [Donetsk People’s Republic] in the village of Aleskandrovskoye, a five-year-old child was killed in the yard of his home and his grandmother was seriously wounded. According to local observers and the media, the explosive device was dropped from a Ukrainian controlled drone. Since 2014, during the war in Donbas, 147 children have died, according to data from the UN monitoring mission. Now on the line of contact there could be tens of thousands of children. How to deal with these things, seeing as the settlement of the conflict is clearly dragging on?

Dmitry Peskov: Every time a person dies, especially if it’s a child, it’s a tragedy and, of course, this is all the bitter consequences of the unsettled situation, moreover, the consequences of the growing tensions on the line of contact. Unfortunately, the agreements are not being fulfilled, [and] the obligations assumed earlier, including by the Ukrainian side, also aren’t being fulfilled. In fact, uncontrolled exchanges of fire have begun, wherein the field commanders of the Ukrainian armed forces are making decisions on these exchanges of fire right on the spot, without receiving sanction for this from the higher military leadership. All this complicates the situation [and] makes it more tense. There’s a lot of talk about this right now. But, unfortunately, we aren’t seeing any effective efforts on Kyiv’s part so far. 

It’s extremely important that the previously reached agreements are fulfilled, and it’s extremely important to ensure the safety not only of children, but also of all the citizens of the self-proclaimed republics.

AFP: Does the presidential administration have clear evidence of the fact that a child was killed in Ukraine? There was only a notice from the Donetsk police, neither the OSCE, nor the Ukrainian side has confirmed it. They’re saying so freely that a child was killed, but there is no hard, serious evidence of this. 

Dmitry Peskov: I have no verified information regarding the death of this child. At the same time, I have no reason to doubt the veracity of the data that were cited by the self-proclaimed republics on this matter. Of course, it’s difficult to imagine that they would make some sort of fake news around the death of a child.

UNIAN: Over the weekend, there were reports that Russian military units were moving around the Rostov region with covered-up license plates. Why has the Russian army become so shy on Russian territory and is it not [possible] that they could get lost, like in 2014 [when the war began]?

Dmitry Peskov: No one is or has been wandering. The Russian army is moving on Russian territory in the directions it considers necessary, as it sees fit to ensure the lasting security of our country. This shouldn’t cause the slightest concern to anyone. Russia doesn’t pose a threat to any country in the world, including Ukraine. But it is always very attentive to its own security.

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