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Lavrov: Obama asked Putin not to deter ousted Ukrainian leader from 2014 opposition deal

May 29, 18:08 UTC+3 MINSK

The agreement on settling the Ukrainian crisis was signed on February 21, 2014, between Yanukovich and opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnibok

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MINSK, May 29. /TASS/. During the 2014 demonstrations in Kiev, former US President Barack Obama asked Russian President Vladimir Putin not to dissuade his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich from signing an agreement with the opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov informed on Tuesday, during his speech at the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the President of Belarus in Minsk.

"There is another thing to keep in mind in order to understand our position on the possibilities of renewing normal cooperation with Ukraine," the Russian foreign minister said. "When President Yanukovich and the opposition prepared an agreement on resolving the crisis, it was acknowledged by the German, Polish and French foreign ministers. When the document was ready, Obama made a phone call to President Putin and asked him not to dissuade Yanukovich from signing the accord, since Yanukovich voluntarily surrendered his prerogatives as Commander-in-Chief, vowed to use only police and OMON forces to protect government buildings and nothing else, and agreed to hold early elections."

"The Americans probably thought that it was too much. I don’t know, but he asked President Putin not to dissuade Yanukovich from signing it," Lavrov continued. "And we didn’t. Putin said that if Yanukovich made the decision to sign it as the legitimate president, then that was his sovereign right, which is what happened."

The agreement on settling the Ukrainian crisis was signed on February 21, 2014, between Yanukovich and opposition leaders Vitali Klitschko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Oleg Tyagnibok. "Then, in the morning, Yanukovich left for Kharkov, and immediately, the takeover of government buildings, the presidential residence and the Parliament began," the Russian top diplomat reminded.

German and Polish Foreign Ministers Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Radoslaw Sikorski, as well as Eric Fournier, Head of the French Foreign Ministry’s Department for Continental Europe, acted as mediators during the signing of the agreement. The document provided for the reinstatement of the 2004 Constitution, the prevention of further disorder and the formation of a national unity government.

However, the attacks on government buildings dragged on, and the Ukrainian leader had to leave Kiev for his personal safety. The Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament] opposition factions took over Kiev. On February 22, they adopted a resolution on the "head of state’s abdication from carrying out his constitutional duties" and called for early elections in violation of the existing Constitution, which strictly defines the procedure for the head of state’s resignation.

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