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MOSCOW, June 4. /TASS/. Donetsk and Lugansk will not agree to observing the Minsk peace agreements "in advance" until their special status is not set forth by the Ukrainian constitution, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Vesti on Saturday weekly television program.
While commenting on Ukraine’s demand for control at the Russian-Ukrainian border, the minister said that question "had never been agreed."
"Ukrainians insist on this all the time. But we have told them many times as long as amnesty is not in place, as long as there is no law on the special status, which could truly guarantee additional rights to those territories, for as long as those rights are not set forth in a special status permanently by the Ukrainian constitution - it would be complicated to hope Donetsk and Lugansk could agree to fulfil "in advance" what is stipulated by the Minsk agreements to finalize the political process, not to be a precondition for it," the Russian foreign minister said.
Russia ready to agree the OSCE’s additional group of monitors in Donbass carries guns for self-defense, Russia’s Foreign Minister said.
"We have said we shall be ready, should it favor the process, to agree OSCE decides that additional group of monitors, which will control the line of engagement and the storage of heavy weapons, will have the right to carry personal guns," Lavrov said.
"Pistols for self-defense," the minister said in response to a specifying question.
Russia sees the U.S. has been increasing the pressure to have Kiev observe the Minsk agreements, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Vesti on Saturday weekly television program.
"Our conclusions, based on information from various sources, are the United States have been applying more pressure to have the Ukrainian side observe the Minsk agreements on its part," the minister said in response to a question whether Washington could make Kiev adopt the law acceptable for Donbass.
"In this aspect, most political agreements depends on how Kiev would be reaching agreements with Donetsk and Lugansk," the minister said.
He said the agreements, signed in February 2015, "fix clearly direct talks and agreements, as opposed to having consultations and then to make it differently." "They read, with Donetsk and Lugansk should be agreed everything referring to changes to the constitution, the special status for Donbass and the modality of the elections," he said. "Everything is in the hands of Kiev."
"As for getting to the borders with the Russian Federation of the republics inside Ukraine: if the Ukrainians agree with Donetsk and Lugansk, then for God’s sake," he said. "But that should be exactly and agreement with them, as they, of course, cannot forget the threats continuing from Kiev, claiming "those are bandits, terrorists, criminals, they should be in prison and never ever will the Ukrainians consider heads of the current republics acceptable counterparts, or even participants in the elections."
The Package of Measures to fulfil the September 2014 Minsk agreements, known as Minsk-2, that was signed in Minsk on February 12, 2015, envisaged a ceasefire regime between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) starting from February 15, 2015 and a subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.
On April 29, the Contact Group for a settlement in eastern Ukraine agreed yet another full ceasefire in Donbass starting from the midnight of April 30. It is an eighth ceasefire agreement since the autumn of 2014. The sides however continue accusing each other of ceasefire violations.