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Maintenance of Ukraine’s nonaligned status crucial for Moscow, says Lavrov

September 12, 2014, 23:54 UTC+3 MOSCOW
He said it in a comment on a bill lifting restrictions on the country’s membership of military blocs that has been drafted by the Ukrainian government
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© ITAR-TASS / EPA / MAXIM SHIPENKOV

MOSCOW, September 13. /ITAR-TASS/. Maintenance of a nonaligned status by Ukraine is a matter of principle for Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday as he spoke on the ‘Pravo Znat’ (Right to Know) primetime political talk show of the Moscow-based TV Tsentr channel.

He said it in a comment on a bill lifting restrictions on the country’s membership of military blocs that has been drafted by the Ukrainian government.

“We’re confident that the option fixed in Ukrainian legislation meets the interests of the Ukrainian people, the legitimate interest of all the neighbors and partners of Ukraine, and the interests of European security,” Lavrov said. “Also, we have numerous assurances from our Western partners that they realize the importance of Ukraine’s out-of-bloc status for security in the Euro-Atlantic region.”

“I wouldn’t say this initiative (on changing Ukraine’s status - Itar-Tass) came from the Ukrainian side as such, because it came from selected politicians,” he said. “Most surprisingly, there is Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk in the first place. It was he who came up with a proposal to submit a document on renouncing the nonaligned status and on taking a course at NATO’s membership and he did it right at the moment when the negotiators in Minsk were coordinating their accords.”

“I can’t assess it otherwise than direct effrontery before the President’s eyes,” Lavrov said. “I think Yatsenyuk isn’t acting in the interests of his people but rather in the interests of the forces striving to sow the seeds of discord between the Ukrainian and Russian peoples and to drive a long and broad wedge between Russia and Ukraine.”

“This is Washington in the first place as the U.S. doesn’t conceal its involvement,” he said.

“Virtually everything the Ukrainian radicals and extremists, including the ones seated in government agencies are doing gets a carte blanche from the U.S.,” Lavrov indicated. “No kind of arguments or calls for the importance of taking an unbiased look at the situation and speaking out in support of national dialogue, reconciliation and respects for minority rights deliver the goods.”

“In the meantime, these are the values the West thrusts forwards in any other conflict,” the minister said.

He believes Washington has already proved many a time that its goal is to aggravate this crisis to the maximum and to use Ukraine as a coin for exchange in a bid to isolate and weaken Russia.

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