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“Our meeting is in many respects improvised. Intensity of international contacts and events is complicating. I am glad that you, Frank, showed interest in our contact within the framework of your tight schedule. This meets our striving too,” Lavrov said prior to the meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
“In the current situation, it is extremely necessary not to feed on rumors and perverted interpretations of what we hear and see in media and in statements by certain politicians but raise questions directly and get answers to them,” he said.
“We want to discuss our bilateral relations and the situation in Ukraine, which worries us more and more, from these positions,” he said.
According to the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine. The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.
The nine-point document in particular stipulates a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.
After Tuesday’s meeting with Steinmeier, Lavrov said he and the German foreign minister “see common tasks to stabilize the situation as soon as possible, cease fire and fulfill further steps envisioned by the Minsk agreements.”
“After the implementation of the Minsk agreements, the next step should be restoration of the economy of Donbass [Donetsk and Lugansk regions],” he said.
Lavrov also said the process of constitutional dialogue in Ukraine has not even been launched despite the Geneva statement of April 17.
“Such a process has not been launched and, as far as we can judge, is not planned,” Lavrov said.
“The Verkhovna Rada [parliament] plans to discuss the constitution without any participation of Ukrainian regions,” he said.
Lavrov warned on against raking up the past in the situation around Ukraine.
“I totally agree that we should not rake up the past,” he said. “The key task today is to stop armed confrontation in south-eastern regions, to draw a disengagement line and to pull back heavy armaments.”
“When we think about long-term stabilization, we shouldn’t forget the task of national unity, accord, reconciliation,” Lavrov stressed.