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Russia seeks Minsk deal implementation not for cancellation of sanctions — Lavrov

January 18, 15:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
"The EU has found a very convenient but a crafty formula that we will lift the sanctions when Russia implements the Minsk agreements, and this does not do credit to the EU," Lavrov says
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Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Austria's Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

© Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 18. /TASS/. Russia calls for implementing the Minsk agreements on Ukraine but is not seeking to "please" anyone for the cancellation of sanctions, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We are working on the Minsk agreements’ implementation encouraging everyone who signed them to fairly go their part of the way," Lavrov said after talks with his Austrian counterpart and OSCE Chairman-in-Office Sebastian Kurz.

"We don’t think how long the sanctions will last and are not seeking to please anyone and achieve the decision on their cancellation," he said.

"The sanctions were not imposed by us and it is not us who should lift them. The EU has found a very convenient but a crafty formula that we will lift the sanctions when Russia implements the Minsk agreements, and this does not do credit to the EU," Lavrov said.

Those who guaranteed the Minsk agreements but do not want to force the Kiev authorities to implement them due to geopolitical and ideological reasons are hiding behind this formula, he added.

"This is a very big geopolitical game," Lavrov stressed. "It is also linked to the attempts to put our neighbors before a false choice - choose either you are with Europe or with Russia. You won’t be able to be friends with both us and Russia. This is rude, but this is what we see for a rather long time."

The policy of Eastern Partnership is also used by the EU to draw the "focus states," Lavrov said. "And this is again not to be friends with anyone but to be friends against them. In this case, that’s against Russia."

"That’s why we leave aside the sanctions," Lavrov stressed. "We are interested in the full implementation of the Minsk agreements in the order that is written down there and we do this only because the Ukrainian people are not strangers for us but are a brotherly nation."

"And we want peace to come to Ukraine and so that Ukrainians stop fighting against each other and the government stops calling its own citizens terrorists and separatists. And they call separatists those who signed the Minsk agreements envisaging preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. This is nonsense," Lavrov said.

Russia’s top diplomat drew attention to the issue of restoring Ukrainian control over the entire border with Russia. According to Lavrov, Kiev’s statements that it will be possible to discuss everything else only after restoring its full control over the border with Russia creates the wrong impression that this is what the parties agreed on in Minsk.

"Actually, we agreed on just the opposite," he noted. "We agreed that it is necessary to carry out amnesty in the first place, pass the special status law and enshrine it in Ukraine’s Constitution on a permanent basis and hold local elections. All this should be agreed with Donbass, and, when all this is done, restoration of Ukraine’s control over the entire border with Russia will the last step in implementing the Minsk agreements."

"The Minsk agreements is a package. This is a balance of interests, this is a compromise," Lavrov emphasized. "And we should not encourage those who are trying to change what we agreed on and who are reluctant to honor their commitments.".

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