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Russian foreign minister: United States pushing Kiev to settle problems in Donbass by force

It is high time for another round of negotiations in the Normandy Format and a ministerial meeting is possible already next week, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

“The United States is not only talking about harsher sanctions but also about the need to send weapons to Ukraine, Lavrov said. “Paradoxically, the US leadership welcomes the gross violation of the February 12 Minsk Agreements by Kiev. According to Thursday reports about a telephone conversation between US Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petr Poroshenko, Biden welcomed the decision made by the Supreme Rada on March 17. Washington’s approval of actions that undermine the Minsk Agreements can be interpreted as incitement of Kiev towards a military solution. Moreover, Mr. Biden and Mr. Poroshenko reportedly discussed US assistance in training and arming Ukraine’s National Guard,” the minister said.

“We consider the attempts to derail the implementation of the Minsk Agreements as absolutely unacceptable. We must not allow the Minsk Agreements to meet the same fate as the February 21, 2014 agreement signed between Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition in the presence of the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, which was trampled underfoot the very next day,” he said.

 “We must not allow the Minsk Agreements to meet the same fate as the statement adopted in Geneva on April 17,” Lavrov said recalling that Ukraine pledged to launch a constitutional reform immediately through an inclusive dialogue with all regions and political forces. That pledge was made in April 2014, almost a year ago.

“We hope that Germany and France, whose leaders invested their prestige in the February 12 Minsk Agreements, will express their attitude to the actions of the Ukrainian leaders who submitted a bill, which the Supreme Rada approved and which actually overturned Kiev’s promise to conduct direct dialogue and seek an agreement with south-eastern Ukraine, including on the issues of elections and the implementation of the law on special status for the region,” the minister said.

“Yes, we need to discuss the situation within the Normandy format,” he went on. “I have urged the foreign ministers of Germany and France to take emergency cooperative measures to prevent the situation from running downhill. We are aware of the concerns expressed by the parliaments of Russia, Germany and France. As of now, the Normandy format plans to meet next week at the level of deputy foreign ministers. However, the level can be higher, considering current tensions.”

Russian President’s Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov supported Sergey Lavrov saying the situation is obvious. “We can see that Kiev fails to fulfill the Minsk Agreements. We can see rather a tough response to that from the Donetsk People’s Republic and Lugansk People’s Republic. The situation is very dangerous and impedes the implementation of the Minsk Agreements,” Peskov said.

As EAD reported earlier, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko signed amendments to the Law granting a special self-rule  status to some districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Under the law, snap elections to the local self-government will be announced in the territories under control of Kiev within Ukraine’s laws and in the presence of international observers. Actually, Kiev has made amendments to the Minsk Agreements. The amendments run contrary to its commitments and were not coordinated with the parties to the negotiations.  In response, the heads of the proclaimed republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitskiy made a joint statement saying that no concession to Kiev is possible unless the “the shameful decisions” of Poroshenko and the Supreme Rada on the status on Donbass are cancelled.

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