March 11 EAPC meeting resembles 'ground-hog day' - Russian envoy to NATO

Wednesday's meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in Brussels resembled a 'ground-hog day', Russia's Permanent Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told reporters.

Wednesday's meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) in Brussels resembled a 'ground-hog day', Russia's Permanent Representative to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told reporters.

"No serious conversation happened between NATO's member countries. We heard only hackneyed cliches about Russia's allegedly unlawful actions in Ukraine. No facts able to confirm these allegations were provided," Grushko said.

"I paid my attention to the press release issued by NATO at the end of the session. It says that allegedly all members of the EAPC condemned the "annexation" of Crimea. Probably, someone in the alliance has paranormal abilities and can mind-read at a distance, but, to say the least, such claims look strange, especially if one notes that far from all members of the council gave a speech at the session, and no one disputed our arguments that the will expressed by the Crimean population was in line with the norms of international law," he said.

The Russian side noted considerable progress on the ground as part of the Minsk process, he said.

Russian officials also informed EAPC members that the Ukrainian army continues to shell militia-held positions and called on the Ukrainian authorities to withdraw all heavy weapons 50 kilometers from the line of contact without any preconditions and in accordance with the deadline set in the February 12 Minsk accords, Grushko said.

Monitors of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) should also be allowed to access all sites of hardware deployment following the withdrawal process, he added.

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