MOSCOW, May 30. /TASS/. At some point, Russia was persuading the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (DPR and LPR) to waive their proclaimed sovereignty if Kiev fulfills the Minsk agreements, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview to France’s TF1 television.
"In response to the coup [in 2014] and its leaders’ statements about the need to chase Russians out, prohibit the status of the Russian language in Ukraine, residents of Ukraine’s eastern regions declared they do not recognize the coup and don’t want to recognize the legitimacy of those who seized Kiev and proclaimed themselves a government. This is when it all began. France, Germany and the European Union stayed silent. Probably, they rejoiced," the Russian minister said.
"This is when the DPR and LPR were proclaimed. In response, Kiev sent troops there, as well as planes to bomb Donetsk and Lugansk. Europe stayed silent," he continued. "At that point, then French president Francois Hollande ‘organized’ the Normandy format. For long months we tried to stop the conflict. We persuaded Donetsk and Lugansk to waive their proclaimed sovereignty if the Minsk agreements are fulfilled: all they [the Kiev government] needed to do was to grant a special status to those territories."
"France and Germany put their signatures under the definition of what this status implies: Russian language, own law enforcement bodies and special economic ties with Russia. Nothing was put into practice," the Russian top diplomat added.
Lavrov went on to say that the Kiev government kept killing civilians for eight long years, while Europe ignored that and told Russia that Moscow must fulfill the Minsk accords if the Kiev government does not want to.
"Now Vladimir Zelensky is declaring his readiness for talks, but first they want to get back everything that was under their control as of February 24, and then they will negotiate. That is why we were left with no choice but to recognize the independence of those republics," he said. "For us, it is a military operation under an official request from sovereign countries DPR and LPR, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, which envisages the right for individual and collective self-defense. We are protecting those people and helping them to restore their territorial integrity.".