MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Moscow’s move to recognize the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics would be counterproductive as this would give the West a pretext to stop pressure on Kiev on implementing the Minsk peace deal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda website.
"I’m convinced that this will be counterproductive," Lavrov said, stressing that it is very important that the documents signed in Minsk are implemented.
"If we say now that 'our patience has run out, we will go another way,’ they will say ‘fine, then the West will have no influence on the current Ukrainian authorities now," Lavrov said.
Nevertheless, Russia is not abandoning or forgetting about Ukraine’s southeast, the diplomat went on to say.
"We are not giving up Ukraine’s southeast or forgetting about it and are very actively supporting it not only politically," Lavrov said. "This is both humanitarian assistance and solving current economic problems, the problems of this region’s life."
Lavrov said this concerns the issues that France and Germany pledged to solve, namely the problem of the banking system’s operation. "They [France and Germany] could not do that and admitted that," he said.
"We solved these and other problems of life in Donbass and will do this," Lavrov stressed.
According to the Russian minister, Donbass will never agree to deployment of any international forces in its territory.
"Now, all of a sudden, the security issue has become the main theme for President (of Ukraine Pyotr) Poroshenko, and it’s not just a ceasefire, but ensuring security by some international forces over the whole territory of Donbass," the Russian foreign minister said. "This is not envisaged by the Minsk agreements. Donbass will never agree to this, and all without exception steps on the (crisis) settlement must be agreed with Donbass, in accordance with the Minsk agreements."
"As for security at the separation line, we strongly support the real enhancement of the role and responsibility of the OSCE mission, increasing the number of observers, so that they could secure the separation of forces to a safe distance from each other, as it was agreed, and so that they could control both sides’ warehouses where heavy weapons are pulled back," the minister said. "But, most importantly, the pretext that security is not fully ensured can be used as much as anyone wants. The Ukrainians say that the political reforms will begin only when security is 100% ensured during a few weeks or months. It’s unrealistic to achieve this, as it never happens in any conflict until the political aspects of the crisis are settled."
The minister has also noted that Moscow hopes that Ukrainian leadership’s statements about the importance of implementing the Minsk Agreements will be implemented in practice.
"There is definitely hope" that the Minsk Agreements will be implemented, Lavrov said. "And not only hope. We should demand that they are implemented," he added.
He reminded that the Minsk Agreements were the result of very complicated talks at the highest level. After that, "Kiev, Donetsk, Lugansk, Russia, France and Germany put their signatures on them," he said. "It is the only document containing the commitments of the sides in the conflict with guarantees of Europeans and Russia. We should not allow this document to succumb to the same fate as the agreement from 21 February 2014 when in presence of France, Germany and Poland, an agreement was signed between Yanukovych, Yatsenyuk, Klitschko and Tyagnibok. The agreement was terminated on the next morning. Our French, German and Polish colleagues remained shamefully silent," Lavrov went on.
"If those who carried out a coup and who represents the main political forces in Ukrainian establishment are allowed to treat another document like this, we will just lose face, including UN Security Council that approved the Minsk Agreements without any changes," the foreign minister said.
"We hope that the statements that we hear from (Ukrainian President Pyotr) Poroshenko and (Ukrainian) foreign minister - they are, of course, controversial because they say one thing in Ukraine and try to be more constructive when they meet with foreign partners - however, they indicate adherence to the Minsk Agreements, that these statements will mean something in practice," Lavrov concluded.