“Attempts to force Ukraine into NATO may have a strong negative impact on the whole system of European security, and we would be strongly opposing it,” he stressed. The minister added that this issue concerns not only Ukraine and NATO, but Russia as well.According to Lavrov, Moscow urges to investigate the alleged Kiev’s using of helicopters with UN marks in the military operation in the country’s south-east. “Ukraine is as close to civil war as you can get,” the Russian minister emphasized. “We would like to understand how helicopters with UNO logo were used against protesters in the south-east,” the minister said.
“Russia has serious suspicions that mercenaries from the USA are acting in Ukraine’s south-east,” Lavrov pointed out.
Commenting on the news about the start of the ‘round table’ on ways of settling the crisis in Kiev, the Russian minister noted that for the success of the national dialogue, Ukraine needs an equal participation of all the country’s regions in this process. “I don’t know which the exact list of participants of the widely advertised ‘round table’ in Kiev is. We are convinced that for the success of the national dialogue, an equal participation of all Ukraine’s regions is needed, and not only of the south and east, but of the west as well,” Sergei Lavrov said.
He said if Western nations continue their policy of sanctions, Moscow will have to think how to respond.
Russia has no intentions to send troops to Ukraine, Sergei Lavrov added. Both eastern and western regions of Ukraine should be represented at the negotiating table, Lavrov emphasized.
Relations between Russia and the West have grown sour following a coup in Ukraine in February and Crimea’s subsequent incorporation by Russia in March.
The West and the de facto Kiev authorities refuse to recognize Crimea’s reunification with Russia legal despite Moscow’s repeated statements that the Crimean referendum on secession was in line with the international law and the UN Charter and in conformity with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008.
Russia's position is that the de facto Ukrainian authorities in Kiev, propelled to power by the coup, are illegitimate.
Cooperation between Russia and the United States, as well as between Russia and the European Union in some spheres has been suspended. Some Russian and Crimean officials and companies have even been subjected to sanctions by Western nations, including visa and asset freezes.
Russia has dismissed the threats of further sanctions, including economic ones, against it over its position on events in Ukraine, saying the language of punitive measures is counterproductive and will have a boomerang effect on Western nations.
Russia will judge the legitimacy of an early presidential election in Ukraine set by the country’s provisional authorities for May 25 by the vote’s results, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday. He noted that Moscow can work with any leadership in Kiev.
Lavrov said that activists in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, who support federalization, can’t be called “pro-Russian”, they want to be Ukrainians.