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ROME, December 2. /TASS/. The Russian side does not understand why Ukraine’s authorities are still continuing the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ against the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
"Frankly speaking, I don’t see why Ukraine is still continuing the so-called 'anti-terrorist operation' and why the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) are described as terrorists and separatists," Lavrov said at the Mediterranean Dialogues forum. "The DPR and LPR leaders signed the Minsk Agreements. They did this at the request of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko who wanted them to do it personally. And now they are told they are illegitimate, cannot take part in elections and must go. Such conditions are advanced as preliminary over and over again," he added.
The Russian foreign minister stressed that the Minsk Agreements are the only format for the settlement of the situation in Ukraine. He noted that not all parties in Ukraine seem to be ready to implement the liabilities the Ukrainian president has undertaken, including on the special status of Donbass, relevant amendments to the constitution, amnesty law and others. "Starting from February 2015, the Normandy Four and the Contact Group have been trying to persuade Ukrainians that they must implement their liabilities," he added.
The Russian top diplomat reminded that the Western powers had called on Ukraine’s former President Viktor Yanukovich not to use force against protesters and sign an agreement with the opposition but literally the day after such an agreement was signed with France and Germany as guarantors, it was trampled down and a state coup brought to power the government of the Maidan winners, instead of a government of national unity.
But instead of calling on the current Ukrainian authorities to refrain from the use of law enforcers and the army against their own people, the Western countries confined themselves to calling for "proportional use of force," Lavrov said.
He drew a parallel between the crises in Yemen and Ukraine to say he doesn’t understand why in the former case the West and its allies are standing for reinstalling the ousted president whereas they don’t do it in the latter case, as far as Yanukovich is concerned.