Violence in eastern Ukraine is intensifying and Russian-backed rebels have moved heavy weaponry back to the front line, international monitors warned on Saturday (13 February) as Moscow responded by accusing the West of dragging the world back 50 years.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described East-West relations as having “fallen into a new Cold War” and said NATO was “hostile and closed” towards Russia, in the latest sign that peace efforts have made scant progress almost two years since Moscow annexed Crimea.
“I sometimes wonder – are we in 2016 or 1962?,” Medvedev asked in a speech to the Munich Security Conference.
Implementation of a deal agreed in Minsk a year ago, which would allow for the lifting of sanctions on Russia, and a lull in violence late last year raised hopes that the conflict that has killed more than 9,000 people could be resolved quickly.
But Lamberto Zannier, who heads the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring eastern Ukraine, said the situation had “become difficult again.”