MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed on Friday what he said were Kiev’s “criminal orders” for a surge in fighting in east Ukraine in which civilians have been killed.
The United Nations’ human rights office said on Friday 262 people had been killed in intensified fighting in east Ukraine in the last nine days, which it called the “most deadly period” since a ceasefire agreement last September.
“The Kiev authorities have given an official order to start large-scale military operations practically throughout the whole line of contact.
The result is tens of killed and wounded, not only among the military on both sides but… among civilians,” Putin told senior state officials in televised comments.
“Those who give these criminal orders are responsible.The people who are doing this should know that there is no other way to solve such conflicts than peace talks and political measures.”
He also said Ukraine had not responded to a proposal he made in a letter to President Petro Poroshenko to withdraw heavy weapons from the demarcation line as a step towards implementing ceasefire.
Poroshenko said this week Russia had 9,000 troops insideUkraine and called it an aggression.
Poroshenko said on Thursday his troops were holding the line against separatists and Russian forces after a sharp increase in attacks and the withdrawal of government troops defending the airport at Donetsk, the main city in the east.