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“We have repeatedly helped Ukrainian law enforcers asking for help, asking us to receive their wounded friends," said Russia's top diplomat.
"We have helped, offering medical assistance and given the possibility of return to all those who wanted it without impeding them, without keeping anyone forcibly,” the foreign minister said.
“To tell the truth, those who had wished to return to Ukraine were then accused of deserting and were court-martialed,” he added.
Lavrov said he expected the Ukrainian authorities "will show humanity in the long run and will realise the absolute inadmissibility of the situation when Ukrainians are waging war against each other, when they are made to fight against their own people while those who refuse are seen as traitors to their own country”.
John Tefft was “a professional, a carrier diplomat, which will make it easier, as a carrier diplomat obeys orders”.
“Decisions are made in Washington, and when he was the US Ambassador to Georgia and Ukraine, he did not play his own games,” Lavrov said. “He is a disciplined man who spent his entire life in the Department of State and therefore did what they said him to do.”
This was what made Tefft different from his predecessor Michael McFaul who was “a political appointee” and “took liberties”.
“It is very hard to estimate Washington’s real approach to relations with Russia,” the Minister said adding “the tunnel is open on our side”.
The two presidents had normal personal relations as well as Lavrov and the US Secretary of State John Kerry who agreed to think whether a meeting was possible “in the foreseeable future”. Signals sent in such contacts were quite positive, the Minister said.
US actions in the Middle East show the United States does not have any well-considered regional strategy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Asked to comment whether prospect of settling the Syrian conflict was anywhere in sight, Lavrov said it was growing nearer but only because the death toll from this terrible conflict kept rising.
“The conflict has definitely crossed the (Syrian) border because the former group called the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is being named the Islamic Caliphate, has already taken some districts in Syria and is seizing even more territories in Iraq,” Lavrov said, adding he had heard from media reports that a hydropower station in Mosul was already in the hands of those terrorists.
“Whenever we tried to call attention to the dangers of appeasing this type of groups, our American and European partners gave us an argument that the group would overthrow President Assad jointly with other forces and then the West would get down to them,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Regrettably, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are currently settling scores in Iraq, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“The Americans are worried, and that proves that the United States does not have any well-considered strategy in the (Middle East) region,” Lavrov said.
Personal attitudes towards heads of state are unacceptable in international politics, Lavrov added.He cited Iraq as an example to note that after the removal of its leader, Saddam Hussein, the American governor-general had disbanded all structures where the Sunni had representation. “These were army, police and security structures, and the Sunnis are now trying to take revenge even though it was clear all along that problems as complex as those in Iraq could only be solved through national consensus,” Lavrov said in an exclusive interview with ITAR-TASS.
“We suggested that instead of taking such actions, which were dictated solely by one’s personal attitude towards a certain head of state, some substantive criteria should be used such as the fight against terrorism. If this criterion were selected as a consolidating factor for the activities of Russia, the United States, Europe, Persian Gulf and other Middle East countries, I believe much would become clearer. But this requires a fair choice and the rejection of cooperation with those who can become your short-lived assistant in overthrowing a statesman you personally dislike, and they you will have to decide what to do with such passing assistant who has now become a burden,” the minister said.
“If we do not decide upon clear approaches, and above all if we do not pool our efforts against terrorism, we will always be facing problems like this. The cost of such zigzags would claim hundreds and thousands of lives as we saw and still see in Libya where the state has been destroyed, and as we can see in Iraq where the state is also falling apart. We are trying to prevent this scenario there because otherwise the Kurd problem will burst out, but this would be horrible. We can see this in Syria where attempts are being made to do the same just in order to remove one single person,” Lavrov said.