ASTANA – Kazakhstan expresses “grave concern with the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, especially with the facts of shelling that led to the deaths of civilians,” the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a Jan. 26 statement.
The shelling of the Ukrainian port of Mariupol on Jan. 24 led to 30 deaths among civilians and left scores more injured.
“We are firmly convinced that there is no alternative to peace negotiations as a way to resolve the crisis in the south-eastern Ukraine,” the statement said.
“We strongly urge all parties to move towards resolving the conflict by peaceful means based on the observance by all participants of their obligations, including those under the Minsk agreements,” the foreign ministry in Astana added. “Kazakhstan, in turn, is ready to provide a platform for negotiations to resolve the Ukrainian crisis in any format convenient for the sides and at any acceptable time.”
A possible mid-January summit in Astana between the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany to seek the resolution to the conflict was first made public by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in December. Since then, after numerous violations of the ceasefire in the south-eastern Ukraine and several inconclusive meetings of the four foreign ministers as well as other officials, the summit date was delayed until further notice.