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MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. President Petro Poroshenko is the best chance for Ukraine at present, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview to France 24 TV channel on Tuesday.
“I cannot say that we have any difficulties in contacts with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko — at least at the level of the two countries’ leaders,” said the foreign minister. “The sides maintain a regular dialogue,” Lavrov added.
Russia urges Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to revise his decision targeting financial, economic and social isolation of Ukraine’s south-eastern regions, Lavrov said.
He said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had sent this message to his Ukrainian counterpart during their latest telephone conversation. “We believe that he should be interested in resolving the problems which a big part of his citizens is experiencing,” Lavrov stressed.
“The OSCE monitors reported yesterday, I think, that the ceasefire is generally holding, with some incidents taking place, yes, but they are absolutely not numerous at all, like it was in the past experience,” the minister said. “There are things which cause concern, like accumulation of some government forces against around the area, but generally speaking, the OSCE reports that the heavy artillery is being withdrawn.”
“So ceasefire is absolute priority, because people shouldn’t be killed,” he stressed. “But at the same time, people should have something to live on, therefore, to discuss economic and social matters, resuming economic interaction between these areas and the rest of Ukraine is absolutely imperative.”
“And we want to understand why President Poroshenko signed a decree which is basically aimed at cutting off — economically, financially and socially — these areas from the rest of Ukraine,” Lavrov noted. “It’s also a cause of concern of the United Nations, because this decree was, again, criticized in the latest report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.”
Russia has not proposed federalization or autonomy of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Lavrov said. Answering the question whether the holding of a constitutional reform in Ukraine means granting a certain degree of autonomy to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the top Russian diplomat said: “It is up to Ukrainians themselves to decide.” “We are not proposing federalization or autonomy,” he said.