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Right Sector still active despite Geneva deals — Sergei Lavrov

April 23, 2014, 21:29 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Geneva Statement in particular envisions that all illegal armed formations should be disarmed in Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Pochuyev

MOSCOW, April 23. /ITAR-TASS/. The Right Sector far-right ultranationalist Ukrainian group is still active despite agreements reached in Geneva last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

“In Geneva, [we] agreed that any violence should be stopped,” Lavrov said in an interview with RT television channel.

“However, on the next day, [Ukrainian parliament-appointed acting president Alexander] Turchynov ordered the army to shoot at unarmed people taking part in peaceful protests. In Geneva, [we] also agreed on disarmament of extremists, but the Right Sector is still rather active,” he said.

The Geneva Statement, adopted after last Thursday’s meeting on Ukraine that involved Russia, the United States, the European Union and Ukraine, in particular envisions that all illegal armed formations should be disarmed in Ukraine, all administrative buildings unblocked and all protesters except for those who committed serious crimes pardoned.

“The new regime should start releasing political prisoners and implementing the agreements reached on February 21, which require, among other things, the surrender of illegal held arms. The authorities must disarm the Right Sector and they must stop making empty promises that all regions will be engaged in the constitutional reform,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Russia Today television channel on Wednesday, April 23.

He noted that the purpose of the agreement signed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and the opposition on February 21 was to “make Yanukovych assume an obligation not to use police and not to declare a state of emergency”.

“We can say that it was a capitulation. Everything he promised was done. Some say that he did not sign a law restoring the previous constitution, but this law entered into force anyway. Therefore all of the opposition’s demands were met,” Lavrov said, adding that the opposition failed to keep its word.

The purpose of the Geneva agreement of April 17 was to “try to put the process back on track, including constitutional reform that will engage all regions on an equal basis”. Unfortunately, the agreement “has not been implemented by those who must take the first step”, the minister said.

“People need real actions. They are fed up with empty promises and are waiting for the order allowing the use of army against civilians to be cancelled,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine saw a coup and new people were brought to power amid riots in February, whom Moscow does not recognize as Ukraine's legitimate leaders.

The crisis deteriorated when Crimea, where most residents are Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian leaders and reunified with Russia on March 18 after a referendum two days earlier in which it overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation.

After Crimea’s incorporation by Russia, protests against the new Kiev authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions, with demonstrators seizing some government buildings and demanding referendums on the country’s federalization.

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