MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. Russia’s top diplomat Sergey Lavrov told his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian over the phone on Saturday that Ukraine is building up its military forces on the contact line in Donbass and continues armed provocations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.
"The sides stressed that under the passive eye of Paris and Berlin, who are parties to the Normandy talks, Kiev is blatantly refraining from its commitments under the Minsk Package of Measures, is building up its military forces on the contact line in Donbass and is carrying out a campaign on militarizing citizens and continues armed provocations," according to the statement.
The top diplomats once again confirmed that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk agreements in order to achieve lasting peace in Ukraine, the ministry stated.
Lavrov also drew Le Drian’s attention to the fact that the reason behind the lack of progress in the Ukrainian crisis settlement is Kiev’s reluctance to fulfill the Minsk agreements. "During the discussion on the situation in Ukraine’s southeast, Lavrov spoke about the lack of progress in ironing out the inter-Ukrainian conflict as the Kiev authorities are reluctant to comply in full with the Minsk agreements, including on a direct dialogue with the representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk, the confirmation of the special status of Donbass as part of Ukraine in the constitution," the ministry stated.
Russia’s top diplomat told his French counterpart that the West’s disregard of Russia’s rights in the field of security affects stability in Europe and the world in general.
As a follow-up to Russia’s initiatives to agree on legally binding security guarantees in Europe, Lavrov told Le Drian that all states should comply with the commitments approved at the top level in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and as part of Russia and NATO on ensuring "equal and indivisible security based on the balance of interests of the sides." Lavrov emphasized that "the disregard of Russia’s legal rights in this sphere has a negative effect on stability both on the European continent and in the world in general."
The top diplomats continued exchanging views in the light of the February 7 talks between the two countries’ leaders. Lavrov and Le Drian also considered a range of topical issues of bilateral cooperation of mutual interest. They also discussed further political contacts. The conversation was held at the initiative of the French side.
The West and Kiev have been echoing allegations about Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these claims as "empty and unfounded", serving as a ploy to escalate tensions, pointing out that Russia did not pose any threat whatsoever to anyone. However, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations aimed at justifying such claims and warned that attempts to use military force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have serious consequences. Amid the mounting threat of combat actions, the self-proclaimed republics on Friday announced the evacuation of civilians to Russia.