Russia is a major obstacle to a peaceful settlement of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
According to an Ukrinform correspondent, Courtney Austrian, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Mission to the OSCE, said this at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, November 11.
"Russia's military activity in and around Ukraine, along with the Kremlin's increasingly hostile rhetoric over the preceding months, is unwarranted and dangerously provocative. The primary obstacle to peace is Russia. This is a conflict Russia started, and now bears full responsibility for ending," Austrian said.
She recalled that Russia's aggression in Ukraine, now in its eighth year, has caused more than 13,000 deaths, tens of thousands of injuries, displaced 1.6 million people, and inflicted countless instances of damage to critical civilian infrastructure.
"We call on Russia to cease its aggression, observe the ceasefire, implement its Minsk commitments, and withdraw its forces from Ukraine's sovereign territory," Austrian said.
She also called on Russia to allow the SMM to fulfill its mandate and monitor throughout Ukraine, which includes the Russia-controlled territory in the Donbas and Russia-occupied Crimea.
"We urge Russia to engage constructively within the Trilateral Contact Group and to reopen all EECPs along the Line of Contact to allow free movement of civilians," Austrian added.