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Russian aggression to blame for Ukraine 'hot war': US official

Kiev, July 24 (IANS) The US special envoy to the peace talks in Ukraine said that the ongoing fighting in the east of country should be regarded as a ‘hot war’ instead of a ‘frozen conflict’ and blamed Russia for its role in the hostilities.

The State Department’s Kurt Volker, a career diplomat and former aid to US Senator John McCain, made these remarks on Sunday during a news conference in Kramatorsk, a government-controlled city in the north of the mainly separatist-held region of Donetsk, Efe news reported.

“This is not a frozen conflict, this is a hot war, and it’s an immediate crisis that we all need to address as quickly as possible,” Volker said.

Asked whether the conflict was a result of Russian aggression or Ukrainian internal factors, he sided with the former explanation.

“We’ve seen what’s happened, we understand the way this conflict has begun, we understand the way it is being managed today, and that’s why it’s important that the United States become more engaged,” he said.

Volker said he was preparing a set of recommendations on how the US could better engage with the stalled peace process.

The conflict erupted in 2014, when Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula and pro-Russian insurgents took up arms against the Kiev government in the eastern areas of the country.

Over the past week, 12 persons have been killed in skirmishes throughout the Donbass region, in what constituted yet another violation of the 2015 ceasefire agreements signed in Minsk.

Volker, a Russia hawk who served as US ambassador to NATO, was appointed by State Secretary Rex Tillerson on July 7 to the special envoy role.

According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have died in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Lugansk during the three years since the conflict’s outbreak.

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