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MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. The European Union’s sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 were touched upon during Monday’s talks with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference.
"As far as the sanctions are concerned, this issue was touched upon," the Russian top diplomat said.
"We never raise this issue because sanctions are part of those artificial problems that hamper our relations with the European Union," he added.
"Federica [Mogherini] pointed to a very interesting aspect today saying that the European Union wanted everybody to implement the Minsk agreements," the Russian foreign minister said. "As you understand, this includes the Kiev government, the Donetsk and Lugansk militias, as well as the European Union, because Germany and France acted on behalf of the European Union. In addition, all these agreements were approved by the United Nations Security Council," Lavrov added.
"But if everybody should implement the agreements, then Russia, apparently, should make Donetsk and Luganks, who signed the Minsk accords, strictly abide by their obligations while Germany and France should ensure that the Ukrainian government does the same," he pointed out. "We are ready to do our part but unfortunately, Kiev has been avoiding direct dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and the the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic though it is written in black and white in the Minsk documents."
Problems in relations of Russia and the European Union should be discussed and no artificial obstacles should be made out of them, the Russian foreign minister stressed.
"Despite the systemic problem, we still have a wish to continue talks. We hope that there will be a wise assessment of developments."
"In any case, we are neighbors and it is better to discuss the problems rather than make artificial obstacles for dialogue out of them," he said.
Russia and the European Union have reiterated their interest in strengthening political dialogue, which should become regular, Lavrov said.
"Our relations are not at their best , but during these talks, no one lectured anyone. We tried to heed each other," the minister said.
"I believe this is the only correct approach."
"We have reaffirmed our mutual interest in intensifying the political dialogue, which, in our opinion, should become regular," Lavrov emphasized.
"We have discussed Ukraine. Both parties confirmed that there was no alternative to the Minsk agreements," the Russian top diplomat noted.
"We clarified our views based on facts and described the obstacles that still hamper the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the main of which is rooted in Kiev’s refusal to confirm the contents of the document adopted in Minsk in February 2015."
Lavrov also pointed out that Ukraine "has been trying to change the agreements, even to rewrite them in order to achieve their goals, which may lead the process to a deadlock." "I expect our counterparts from the EU to try and make the Ukrainian authorities strictly implement the Minsk agreements," the Russian top diplomat added.
"If this is done, then we will be ready to do our part as guarantors of the agreements in order to influence Donetsk and Lugansk so that they make take steps in this direction too, after Kiev begins to fulfill its obligations."