The FINANCIAL -- The U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has issued a harshly worded statement accusing Russia of "ongoing violations of international law" in Ukraine.
The statement posted on February 1 said Moscow's "aggression" in eastern Ukraine has resulted in "the ongoing conflict that has cost the lives of over 10,000 Ukrainians." It again called on Moscow "and its proxies" to allow international humanitarian assistance into the conflict areas, according to RFE/RL.
"If Russia wants to help address the humanitarian crisis it created, it should…contribute to the UN's Humanitarian Response Plan," the statement said.
The U.S. statement also expressed concern for those "brave enough to speak out against Russia's occupation of Crimea," particularly Crimean Tatars. It said Crimean Tatars are persecuted "with impunity" and cited "ongoing raid on Tatar homes" and arrests "on trumped-up charges."
Russia annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea in March 2014, prompting international condemnation and sanctions.
The U.S. statement noted that Russian officials have said the conflict in Ukraine is tantamount to a "civil war."
"We all know the truth -- the brutal war in Donbas is fomented and perpetuated by Russia," the statement countered.
The statement concluded by saying: "We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia's occupation and purported annexation of Crimea. Crimea-related sanctions on Russia will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine."