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The smoldering military conflict in eastern Ukraine has been propelled back into the headlines, with a new spike in violence in early February.
The escalation highlighted the fragile nature of the ceasefire and the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, the key condition on the way to a peaceful settlement, which was reconfirmed in the recent Normandy format meeting.
In an interview with Russian and Ukrainian media on Tuesday, former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, now living in southern Russia, argued that the military suppression of unrest in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was an inherently flawed and ill-conceived decision by Kiev.
The bloodshed in eastern Ukraine might have been averted if the authorities in Kiev made an attempt to find common ground with people in Donetsk and Lugansk, Yanukovich said, adding that the decision to launch their so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ against the rebels amounted to a declaration of war against the people.
“Of course, everyone who took part in this decision must be held responsible. This is a crime against their own people,” the former Ukrainian leader said.