Latvia worried about eastern Ukraine 'tension'

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Latvia expressed official concern Tuesday about the deteriorating security situation in eastern Ukraine where Russia-backed rebels and regular Russian units have been on the offensive. 

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers that the recent escalation of tension in the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine is seriously undermining the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The responsibility for the exacerbation of the situation should be assumed by Russia-supported separatists. Particular concern is aroused by the growing numbers of civilian casualties and the aggravation of humanitarian situation," the Latvian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it is also concerned about the increasing threat to the OSCE Observation Mission and actions against it that "considerably interfere with the performance of the mission’s tasks."

"Latvia believes that ensuring unhindered functioning of the OSCE Mission is vital for the fulfilment of the Minsk agreement," the statement said. 

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on all the parties involved, especially the Russian Federation, to make every effort to cease shelling as soon as possible, to withdraw heavy weaponry and restore the ceasefire in the east of Ukraine," it concluded, reasserting its belief that implementing the Minsk Agreement is the "main prerequisite for a sustainable political solution to the conflict."

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