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Moscow seeks settlement in Ukraine that would preserve its territorial integrity — Lavrov

January 21, 2015, 12:13 UTC+3

Russia's foreign minister stressed the need to maintain direct contacts between authorities in Kiev and east Ukraine's two self-proclaimed People’s Republics

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 Donetsk's Kiev District after a shelling attack

Donetsk's Kiev District after a shelling attack

© Mikhail Sokolov/TASS

MOSCOW, January 21. /TASS/. Moscow has been doing its utmost to bring about a settlement in Ukraine that would preserve the country’s territorial integrity, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on the results of 2014 in Moscow on Wednesday.

“We have been trying to promote a settlement that would preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” he said. “Proceeding from the assumption everybody recognizes the need for restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine the Russian president put forward a proposal for ‘not getting bogged down in debates’ over the disengagement line and for pulling back the heavy armaments away from the line identified in the Minsk Accords.”

Russian Foreign Minister stressed the need to maintain direct contacts between authorities in Kiev and east Ukraine's two self-proclaimed People’s Republics.

Lavrov told a news conference, summarizing 2014 results, that the people of Ukraine should determine their future themselves.

“Direct contacts are essential in this context, first of all, given the acuteness of the crisis, direct contacts between representatives of Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics,” the diplomat said.

“All other formats involving so-called external players, including the Normandy format and all OSCE activities, should be aimed at promoting this sustainable direct dialogue on all issues which should be settled to overcome this crisis,” he added.

In Lavrov's words, Russia is ready for any formats of the Ukrainian conflict resolution which are acceptable for both Kiev and the representatives of Ukraine’s south-east.

“We will back any format which is acceptable for the sides,” the minister said, adding however that introducing new formats is not the most important issue. “Russia is ready for any formats, which are acceptable for Kiev and the representatives of the south-east,” he stressed.

Sergey Lavrov stressed that Kiev should immediately stop attacks on Donetsk and other towns in south-eastern Ukraine.

"We are much concerned over the new outbreak of violence in Ukraine's south-east," the foreign minister told a news conference.

This came after Kiev’s threatening statements, President Petro Poroshenko’s announcement of new mobilization waves and sending new weaponry, military equipment and troops to the south-east.

“It is impossible not to see what is happening,” Lavrov stressed.

Russia will push for the need to implement an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine’s south-east at the forthcoming Normandy format foreign ministers’ meeting, Lavrov added.

“We will be striving for an immediate implementation of a ceasefire [in Ukraine’s southeast],” he said. “We will be speaking about this in a Normandy format,” he said.

Lavrov expects that at the Berlin meeting Russia’s Western partners “will call on the Ukrainian leadership not to allow sliding towards a military scenario once again.”

Foreign ministers of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France will hold another meeting in Berlin in a bid to make a breakthrough in the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis on the backdrop of dramatic aggravation of the situation in eastern Ukraine in the recent days.

Moscow feels that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is prepared to discuss Russia’s proposal for a troop withdrawal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference.

“At this point we have only a verbal reply from the Ukrainian president to Vladimir Putin’s proposal (an armaments pullout plan — TASS),” he said. “We feel that he is prepared to discuss that but puts forward some technical issues.”

Lavrov believes that these technicalities are soluble.

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