Moscow denies reports on troop deployment in Ukraine
Moscow: Russia categorically denied on Thursday reports about its troop deployment in Ukrainian territory.
"It is a lie to say that there are Russian troops in southeastern Ukraine," Sergei Naryshkin, speaker of the Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, told a visiting delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
On Tuesday, Ukrainian foreign ministry sent a note of protest to Russia over its alleged "aggression" in Ukraine's eastern regions, saying that Moscow "provides support" to independence- seeking insurgents in Donetsk and Lugansk regions and "continues actions aimed at further escalation of the situation in Ukraine."
Naryshkin called PACE "not to forget" that Russia has been providing humanitarian assistance to the residents of southeastern regions in Ukraine since summer, Xinhua reported.
"Unfortunately, the majority of European countries keeps silence and turns a blind eye (on the situation in Donbass)," Naryshkin said, adding that Moscow insists on establishing an international group to investigate humanitarian crimes in Ukraine in the framework of PACE.
He urged PACE to work together for de-escalation of violence and overcoming humanitarian disaster in Ukraine.
Kiev, along with the Western countries, has long accused Moscow of aiding insurgents in eastern Ukraine, but Moscow has consistently rejected such accusations.
The conflict, which erupted in Donetsk and Lugansk regions in mid-April, escalated sharply since Ukrainian authorities decided to repeal the law which grants "special status" to rebel-held areas Nov 4.
Overall, the 7-month-old armed confrontation has claimed over 4,000 lives and injured more than 9,000 people.