“We still have the hope that goodwill will prevail. I would not like to suspect anyone. But there is evidence that such an aggressive behaviour against the territories in question (Ukraine’s east) is being induced from abroad,” Lavrov said.
“We were surprised when President [Pyotr] Poroshenko signed a decree, which, in fact, cut these territories off Ukraine’s economic and financial system. The payment of pensions and other allowances was banned. The Ukrainian hryvnia got the status of a foreign currency in the southeastern regions,” he said.
“We have our Ukrainian partners pay attention of to this fact. We believe that on the contrary, it is necessary to strengthen economic ties. The areas, which are controlled by militias, need electricity and gas. They have coal that the other areas of Ukraine need. All is mutually advantageous and evident here,” Lavrov said.
Russia is urging all parties to the Ukrainian conflict to exchange hostages under the “all-for-all” pattern, Lavrov told the news conference.
“Another important task of the OSCE monitoring mission will be to address the problem of hostages,” he said. “We would like to see the parties agree to exchange all for all.”
Lavrov voiced the hope that the mission would not stay aloof from the 'crimes which were committed in the course of the armed conflict in Ukraine, starting from Maidan protests, and also in Odessa, Mariupol, Kramatorsk and other cities and from reports of mass graves.”
The ceasefire in Ukraine has not resulted in complete silence regime, but now the parties are close to an agreement, the minister said.
“Ceasefire has been announced already, it has resulted in a major reduction of violence, but has not resulted in the complete establishment of the ‘silence regime’,” he said. “Now, objective of the talks, which took place on the spot, is to agree on the division line so that the parties respected it.”
“I believe, now they are close to an agreement,” Lavrov said.
According to the Russian foreign minister, the role of the OSCE special monitoring commission in Ukraine is soaring in view of the need for compliance with the Minsk Accords.
“The OSCE special monitoring mission has been operating in a no easy environment, but it has been doing its job confidently and smoothly enough,” Lavrov said. “In the wake of the adoption of the Minsk Accords and in view of the need for their comprehensive observance the role of the OSCE special monitoring mission is soaring, in particular, for ensuring compliance with the ceasefire.”
“I do hope that the ongoing events in the zone of the conflict will make it possible within days to declare a ceasefire, including the disengagement line, as an agreed arrangement,” Lavrov said.
Russia again calls on the international community to take part in delivering humanitarian aid to Ukraine’s suffering population, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Friday.
“For urgent easing of people’s sufferings, we call on all to participate in delivering the humanitarian aid there,” Lavrov said.
“From the very beginning, when we started to provide this aid, we called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and to Ukraine as well,” he said. “Soon after the first convoy had delivered humanitarian aid, Ukrainian border guards arrived at our checkpoints. But each time when a next convoy was crossing through them, they were turning down our invitations to examine the trucks.”
Lavrov said that the latest convoy “was a watershed as at last the Ukrainian border guards had gotten green light from Kiev to examine this humanitarian cargo.”
“They made sure that the trucks had nothing inside that was unrelated to assistance for civilians in Ukraine’s south-east,” the Russian foreign minister said.
Lavrov said the Normandy format should be used to persuade the Ukrainian side to make life in their country normal.
“As for the Normandy format - I would rather use it in order to push our Ukrainian counterparts to solving the system problem - the problem of organising the life in the country, respect for culture, traditions of all the regions,” the foreign minister said.