On March 31, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden expressed concern about ‘the escalation of the Russian aggression' in Donbas, where Ukrainian forces fight against militants backed by Russia since 2014 as Associated Press reported citing Pentagon’s Spokesperson John Kirby.
“The U.S. government was aware of reports from the Ukrainian military of Russian troop movements on the eastern border and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made calls to his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts,” Kirby stated.
Milley’s Office did not report the details of the talks. According to Kirby, it is safe to assume that Milley expressed concern of the U.S. about the escalation of tensions and violations of the ceasefire regime.
Kirby noted that the mentioned escalation includes violations of the truce reached in July 2020 with the OSCE mediation. These violations led to the death of four Ukrainian soldiers in Donbas on March 26 and the wounds of two more military.
Kirby also stated that Washington discusses its concerns with allies in NATO. Moreover, the U.S. State Department stated about the intention to “reach out to Russia to request an explanation for these developments”.
Earlier, Foreign Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba held a phone talk with U.S. State Secretary Antony Blinken and informed him about the escalation of the safety situation by Russia at the demarcation line with occupied Donbas and Crimea. Besides, Kuleba underlined the unwillingness of Moscow to confirm its commitment to the ceasefire regime.
On March 26, four servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine died as a result of shelling by illegal armed groups in the Donetsk region. Two others were injured.
On March 31, the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group took place and the escalation in Donbas was discussed. The Ukrainian side offered to provide the observation of a comprehensive and full ceasefire regime in Donbas from April 1; however, Russia refused to support it.