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Ukraine calls for OSCE Permanent Council meeting on situation on Russian border

April 28, 2014, 21:59 UTC+3 KIEV

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian troops were staying on their own territory and were not taking any steps that would go against their obligations

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© ITAR-TASS/Konstantin Sazonchik

KIEV, April 28. /ITAR-TASS/. The Kiev authorities have called for a meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation and the OSCE Permanent Council over the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

“Ukraine is initiating a joint meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation and Permanent Council, as provided for in Clause 16.3 of the Vienna Document, to discuss the situation on the eastern border of our state,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Monday, April 28.

Parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that Kiev was waiting for information from Moscow “within 48 hours” on “what (Russian) soldiers are doing on the Ukrainian border”.

On April 24, Kiev sent an official inquiry to the OSCE following Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s statement that battalion-level tactical groups of the Southern and Western Military Districts had started exercises in regions bordering on Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that in reply to Kiev’s inquiry Moscow had failed to provide exhaustive explanations regarding the purpose and place of military manoeuvres held in the Southern and Western Military Districts over the past several days near the Ukrainian border, the date of their completion and the number and type of military units involved.

“Given the insufficient information received, Ukraine has suggested to Russia that consultations be held in Vienna on April 28, as provided for in the abovementioned document, in order to discuss this issue. Other states that have voiced concern about Russia’s military activities near the Ukrainian border have also been invited to take part in the consultations,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Russia Today television channel this week that Russian troops were staying on their own territory and were not taking any steps that would go against their obligations.

“We have never denied the fact that we sent additional troops to the border (with Ukraine) just as the Ukrainian government redeployed its troops closer to our border. Our troops are conducting exercises on the territory of our own country. Such exercises are conducted regularly since Sergei Shoigu was appointed defence minister,” Lavrov said.

Exercises are held in different parts of Russia. “As far as I know, the next exercises will be held in the north-west of the country. This is a continuous process. The army must be in good shape and ready to act while hoping that it will not have to interfere,” the minister said.

“However, if we are attacked, we will respond by all means. If our legitimate interests and the interests of Russian people are directly affected, as was the case in South Ossetia, I see no way to respond other than doping so in full compliance with international law. Those who threaten the security of Russian citizens jeopardise the security of the whole country,” Lavrov said.

He stressed the fact that Russian troops were staying on the territory of Russia. “Demands for inspections under the so-called Vienna Document of 2011 and the Treaty on Open Skies were satisfied. Inspectors from the United States, the European Union and Ukraine visited Russian troops’ bases and could not cite even one fact that would signify dangerous military activities on the part of Russia,” the minister said.

“We are on our own territory and are not taking any actions that would go against our obligations,” he said. “Ukrainian troops are also staying on their territory, but the difference is that they have an order allowing them to use weapons against peaceful citizens. This is a criminal order.

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