Statement by State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf on Ukraine

On Ukraine, we continue to see an increasing disparity between what Russia and the separatists say and what they do.  This disparity threatens the Minsk agreements and stability in the region.  Russia and the separatists claim to be honoring the ceasefire, but in reality they are violating it on a regular basis and are encroaching further beyond the ceasefire line, including recent attacks on an important bridgehead in northern Luhansk.  Yesterday Russia-backed separatists also launched an attack on the village of Pisky, where OSCE monitors were inspecting a checkpoint.  We condemn this attack, which ended up – injured up to seven Ukrainian troops and placed the OSCE monitors in danger.  We commend the OSCE for continued monitoring, even at the risk of personal harm, and we reiterate our call for unfettered access for OSCE monitors.  Russia and the separatists it backs will face increasing costs if they do not implement their Minsk commitments.