MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. The Normandy Quartet countries and the US agree that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said addressing the State Duma (lower house of parliament).
"Contacts with our foreign counterparts, including members of the Normandy Quartet and the US, show that everybody understands there can be no alternative to the implementation of the Minsk agreements," the top diplomat noted. "Of course, it will be impossible to achieve this goal without Kiev’s direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, as the UN Security Council Resolution 2202 stipulates."
According to him, Kiev’s "stubborn unwillingness to fulfill its obligations under the Minsk agreements is the main obstacle for settling Ukraine’s domestic crisis."
"Moreover, Kiev continues armed provocations on the line of contact as well as its bellicose rhetoric," Lavrov added.
"We have not yet seen any signs of Ukrainian authorities’ willingness to negotiate. One of the latest examples of this is (Ukrainian) President Poroshenko’s recent statement in which he said that Kiev would not take any steps to implement the political provisions of the Minsk agreements until its security demands were not granted, particularly until full control over the Russian-Ukrainian border is passed over to it," the Russian top diplomat said.
"They make such statements openly, the president who signed the Minks agreements, makes such statements, although the agreements stipulate that border control will be restored after Kiev fulfills all its obligations, particularly declares an amnesty, holds elections and provides a special status to Donekts and Lugansk that should be enshrined in the country’s constitution," Lavrov pointed out. "The president of Ukraine violates the agreements that he signed together with the Russian president, the president of France and the German chancellor."
Lavrov also said that Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had recently visited the country’s National Guard’s headquarters and called for preparations for a military operation in order to regain control over the southeastern regions as well as Crimea. "So these are representatives of Ukraine’s authorities who are responsible for implementing the Minsk agreements but who have been hampering the implementation process," the Russian foreign minister said.
According to Lavrov, most European countries understand that Kiev is unwilling to fulfill the Minsk agreements. "They understand perfectly well that the outbursts of violence on the line of contact are fuelled by the Ukrainian military while the so-called volunteer battalions, including the Pravy Sektor (extremist organization outlawed in Russia), take an active part in these provocations though without obeying the Army Command and acting at their own discretion," Lavrov noted. "However, Ukrainian authorities have been encouraging them because they think that if peace is restored then the world will demand they fulfill their promises."
The Russian top diplomat expressed hope that during Donald Trump’s presidency, Kiev will stop to rely on Washington in each and every situation. "I think, Ukraine’s authorities will realize the need to act on their own rather than relying upon their overseas masters, as they used to do under Obama," Lavrov said.