“The Ukraine crisis is rooted in NATO provocative actions,” Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a post on his official Twitter account on Thursday, as Russia launched a military operation in the Donbass region in parallel with airstrikes on military targets inside Ukraine.
“We do not see resorting to war as a solution. Establishing a ceasefire and focusing, instead, on a political and democratic solution is a necessity,” the top Iranian diplomat tweeted.
In a televised address early on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Lugansk — which are ruled by self-proclaimed republics — to “defend people” there against Kiev’s forces.
Putin said he had ordered the operation after the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk asked the Kremlin for military assistance in response to “Ukrainian aggression.”
The Russian president said he wanted to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine, and that Moscow has “no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory.”
In 2014, Ukraine’s two regions of Donetsk and Lugansk — collectively known as the Donbass — were turned into self-proclaimed republics by ethnic Russians, leading to a bloody conflict between the government forces and the armed separatists.
The conflict worsened following a wave of protests in Ukraine that led to the overthrow of a democratically-elected pro-Russia government, which was later replaced with a Western-backed administration. The majority in those areas refused to endorse the new administration.
More than 14,000 people have been killed so far.
The military operation comes days after Moscow recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk breakaway republics in the Donbass, alleging Kiev had not lived up to its obligations under the Minsk agreements struck in 2014 and 2015 to resolve conflict between separatists and the Ukrainian government.
‘Iran monitoring Ukraine developments with deep concern’
Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh expressed regret over the beginning of military operation and the escalation of conflict in Ukraine.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is pursuing the developments in Ukraine with deep concern. Unfortunately, the continuation of NATO provocation actions, in which the US plays a central role, has led to a situation in which the Eurasian region is on the verge of an all-out crisis,” Khatibzadeh said.
He added that Iran invites the conflicting sides to announce a ceasefire and hold immediate negotiations to resolve the crisis through political channels.
The Islamic Republic once again reiterates the importance of observing international law and humanitarian rights in military conflicts, the Iranian spokesperson said.
Pointing to the situation of Iranian nationals living in Ukraine, he said the most important mission of the Foreign Ministry at the current juncture is to “fully and urgently” address the issue,
The mission, he added, is currently underway based on previously designed plans using all the capacities.
Khatibzadeh noted that Iran’s Embassy in Ukraine is fully active and serves the Iranian university students and nationals in accordance with the instructions given to it in advance.