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Lavrov questions attempts to authorise OSCE mission’s visit to Crimea

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PETROPAVLOVSK KAMCHATSKY, March 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia was ready from the very beginning to support the deployment of the OSCE monitoring mission in Ukraine, but its Western partners were demanding that its mandate should include a visit to Crimea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Sergei Brilev’s Vesti v Subbotu (News on Saturday) television programme on March 29.

Replying to a question why Russia had not been ready to support the OSCE mission, Lavrov said: “I would say that our Western and Ukrainian partners were not ready to support it.”

Moscow is used to the fact that the West interpreted everything in the opposite way. “We are used to this. Orwellian talents are still alive,” the minister said.

“Russia was ready to send the mission a week before the decision was finally made. However our partners were demanding with inscrutable stubbornness even though by that time everything was already clear to everyone that we should include in the OSCE mission [mandate] a trip to Crimea as part of Ukraine,” Lavrov said.

“One may essentially disagree with our understanding of the situation or may not accept the Russian Federation’s decisions that were adopted in reply to the will expressed by the people of Crimea and supported by their overwhelming majority. This is clear and that’s life. But failing to understand the real policy and the total pointlessness of the demands addressed to us at the time when we were saying that we would accept any decision to be made by the people in Crimea in their plebiscite, and telling us: ‘well, notwithstanding the president’s words, let’s write that the mission will go to Ukraine, including Crimea’ - that’s either diplomatic impudence or complete diplomatic incompetence,” the minister said.

“Given the ability of our Western colleagues to juggle words and interpret things, as they had proved on so many occasions”, Moscow insisted that instead of writing simply that the “mission will go to Ukraine”, the mandate should specify the cities and regions it was to visit, Lavrov said. “This list contains both western and eastern cities, and not a single town in the Crimean Republic of the Russian Federation,” he added.

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