MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Sanctions should be put in place against Ukraine, which is trying to derail the Minsk agreements and which is responsible for people’s deaths rather than against Russia, Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council (upper house of parliament) International Affairs Committee, told TASS on Tuesday.
Earlier in the day, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko urged the EU to toughen sanctions against Russia because of Moscow’s recognition of passports issued by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics (DPR, LPR).
"The Russian side’s decision is a response to the unilateral and deliberate sabotage of the Minsk agreements by the Ukrainian side," Kosachev emphasized. He noted that "three years after the beginning of the conflict and two years after the development of sequence and modalities of its resolution, Kiev has done nothing at all except for pushing ahead with the policy of provocations along the line of engagement."
"Sanctions should be imposed, first and foremost, on Kiev, which is responsible for people’s deaths and suffering," he said. "Russia’s decision is aimed solely at alleviating the plight of these people amid legal confusion in southeastern Ukraine and is as conscious as military provocations by the Ukrainian party to the conflict." In light of this, Kosachev voiced regret over the fact that Kiev’s policy is "actually covered up by the West whose inactivity is becoming an increasingly more worrisome factor against the backdrop of tensions persisting in the conflict zone."
On February 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on recognizing passports and license plates issued to citizens of Ukraine and individuals without citizenship permanently residing on the territory of separate districts of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier explained that the decree does not contravene international law, adding that this decision stemmed from humanitarian considerations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Tuesday that the decree was signed solely in the interests of people and was prompted by humanitarian considerations. "Is it in line with the spirit and purpose of the Minsk agreements? It is. It is also in line with the letter of the Minsk agreements stipulating the need to resolve all humanitarian issues in that part of Donbass," Lavrov emphasized.