In the conversation held on France’s initiative, “Lavrov emphasized that, with respect to the will of the Ukrainian people expressed on May 25, we hope that the elected authorities will take into account the interests of all citizens of Ukraine and will take immediate measures to terminate the army operation in the country’s south-eastern regions,” the ministry said.
This “will become a step toward renunciation of violence and switch to nationwide dialogue aimed at agreeing on a generally acceptable constitutional reform in accordance with the OSCE roadmap,” it said.
Ukraine has been in turmoil after the country saw a coup in February. New people were brought to power amid riots as security concerns caused President Viktor Yanukovych to leave the country the same month.
Massive protests against the coup-imposed Ukrainian authorities erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking south-eastern territories after the secession of the Crimean Peninsula, which declared independence on March 11 and joined Russia on March 18 following a referendum.
Demonstrators in south-eastern regions, who have been demanding the country’s federalization, seized several government buildings. Kiev has been conducting what it has dubbed “an anti-terrorism operation” against pro-federalization activists. Russia, which does not recognize the new Kiev authorities, has said the operation is punitive.
The eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions held referendums on May 11, and most voters supported independence from Ukraine.
Denis Pushilin, the Chairman of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Supreme Council presidium, told ITAR-TASS that more than 50 militiamen and 20-50 civilians have died since Ukrainian law enforcers launched the active phase of their military operation in Donetsk on Monday, May 26.
Donetsk Mayor Oleksandr Lukyanchenko confirmed the death of at least 40 people in clashes near the city airport. Ukrainian parliament-appointed interior minister Arsen Avakov confirmed that “dozens” died as a result of Kiev’s operation in Donetsk.
Clashes near the Sergey Prokofyev International Airport in Donetsk started on Monday morning. Ukraine’s law enforcers used attack aircraft, including fighters and combat helicopters. Fighting in the area was ongoing all day and throughout the night. Now the situation in the city is calm, the DPR says.
Ukraine held a presidential election set by the coup-imposed authorities on Sunday, May 25. Billionaire businessman and politician Petro Poroshenko won the election with more than 54% of the vote, with over 94% of election protocols processed, the Ukrainian Central Election Commission reported Tuesday.
Meanwhile, only 20% of polling stations were open in the eastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Sunday’s presidential election, the head of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly delegation to the Ukrainian election, Tana de Zulueta, said at a news conference on Monday.
She also said that the voting had not taken place in 10 out of 22 districts of the Donetsk Region and in 14 out of 23 districts in the Luhansk Region. More than 800 out of 3,908 polling stations were open, she said, adding that the voter turnout at these polling stations had been lower than across the country on the average.