HELSINKI, March 3. /TASS/. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko’s statement on the necessity to deploy United Nations peacekeepers to Donbass runs counter to the Minsk accords, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday after talks with his Finnish counterpart, Pekka Haavisto.
"There are no alternatives to the Minsk agreements," he stressed. "And we reiterated that at today’s talks. They [the agreements — TASS] were endorsed by a United Nations Security Council resolution, thus becoming part and parcel of international law."
"We hear a lot of concrete ideas explicating Mr. Pristaiko’s thought, including the ideas that power bodies in the self-proclaimed republics are to be dissolved, that UN troops are to be deployed and that the entire perimeter of these territories is to be taken under control prior to organizing elections, etc. We heard Ukrainian officials saying they were ready to maintain dialogue with people in Donbass, but not with the ones who had been elected to provide for their everyday life," he stated. "It runs counter to the concrete provisions of the Minsk agreements."
"I have referred several appeals to the foreign ministers of Germany and France, as the members of the Normandy Four format, calling on them not to ignore such provocative statements by Ukrainian officials. But so far, our Normandy format partners are undertaking nothing in that regard," he lamented. "Moreover, our French and German colleagues, as a matter of fact, are doing nothing to prod their Ukrainian partners to implement what was agreed at the Normandy Four summit in December in Paris."
Russia thinks it pointless to hold "empty" summits in the Normandy Four format, involving Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France, the top diplomat claimed.
Paris and Berlin "as a matter of fact, are doing nothing to prod their Ukrainian partners to implement what was agreed at the Normandy Four summit in December in Paris," he noted. "Instead, they [Germany and France — TASS] focus on convening another summit of the Normandy Four as a goal in itself, regardless of whether the previous agreements are fulfilled or not," he went on. "We don’t need such empty summits. We have told our partners about that."
"They must focus on how to make the Ukrainian authorities begin to execute the agreements on the disengagement of forces and weapons, on demining and on carrying out their part of political reform, first of all, measures to enshrine Donbass’ special status on a permanent basis," Lavrov added.
Peace settlement of the conflict in Donbass rests on the Package of Measures, known as Minsk-2, that was signed by the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising senior representatives of Russia, Ukraine and the European security watchdog OSCE on February 12, 2015, following marathon 16-hour talks between the leaders of the Normandy Four nations, namely Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine. The 13-point document envisages a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also lays out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including amnesty, resumption of economic ties, local elections and a constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.