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MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Federation Council has drawn the United States’ attention to the fact the responsibility for the observance of the Minsk Accords rests upon not only the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics, the chairman of the Federation Council international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, said on Tuesday after a meeting with US ambassador to Russia John Tefft.
"We argued in a very harsh way over the current situation in Ukraine. I drew the US ambassador’s attention to the fact that the calls for observing the Minsk Accords and the armistice they provide for should be addressed to all parties to the conflict, and not just the militias in the south-east of the country," Kosachev said. "The responsibility for the observance of these agreements rests upon all parties. Compliance with these accords and with truce terms is first and foremost the realm or responsibility of the authorities in Kiev."
Last Thursday, February 12 the Belarusian capital hosted hours-long overnight talks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Also, there was a meeting of the Contact Group for Ukraine attended by a former Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma, special representative for humanitarian issues, leader of the non-governmental organization Ukrainian choice Viktor Medvedchuk, the heads of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, special representative of the OSCE chairperson-in-office Heidi Tagliavini and Russian ambassador in Kiev Mikhail Zurabov.
The meetings produced a package of measures to implement the Minsk Accords, such as a ceasefire in certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions starting from February 15, the pullback of heavy armaments and measures for a long-term political settlement of the situation in Ukraine.
Kosachev said the relations between Russia and the United States are currently in a state of a crisis.
"I should say a ‘deadlock’ although this is my term, and not the term of the US ambassador," the Russian senator said. "We had completely different views on the reasons why this is happening and in regard to how these relations should develop in the future," he added.
Kosachev said he believes the US side is responsible for the deterioration of the relations with Moscow. He criticized the US for describing Russia as an aggressor state and Washington’s calls to contain Russia.
"This is a strategic US position that is being implemented in particular actions and we are deeply convinced that this hinders cooperation in counteracting real common threats for us," the senator said.
Kosachev stressed that Tuesday’s meeting was held at the initiative of the US side. The US ambassador has visited the Federation Council for the second time since November 2014.
The Izvestia daily earlier reported that the talks on Tuesday could focus on the conflict in Ukraine’s south-east and the sanctions policy of NATO countries against Russia.