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Lavrov calls attempts to block Donbass ‘unacceptable’

The Russian top siplomat says Kiev’s attempts to impose a blockade on Donbass in hope that the region will capitulate are unacceptable

MOSCOW, March 27. /TASS/. Kiev’s attempts to impose a blockade on Donbass in hope that the region will capitulate are unacceptable, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after talks with his Italian counterpart Angelino Alfano.

"Certainly, we discussed the situation in Ukraine. We share view that there is the need for a full and absolute implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures," Lavrov said.

At the meeting the Italian partners were informed about Russia’s efforts made as part of the Normandy format (Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany) all these years and the Contact Group to ensure the implementation of accords signed by Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk in February 2015, he said.

"We paid attention to the sharp deterioration of situation in Ukraine’s southeast linked to the repeated use of force by the Kiev authorities to solve the Donbass problem," Lavrov said. "Of course, we drew attention to the unacceptable attempts of imposing a total blockade in hope to force this region to capitulate."

Lavrov stressed that "instead of this there is the need to force the Kiev authorities to establish a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Minsk as they promised under the Minsk agreements."

In late January, Ukrainian radical activists blocked railway lines leading to the Donbass territory not controlled by Kiev citing the need to combat smuggling.

In response, the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics announced that on March 1, external administrations would be introduced at all Ukrainian-owned enterprises so they could continue to operate. Since their products could not be delivered to Ukraine, the two republics decided to search for new trade partners.

Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko condemned the blockade saying it was inflicting damage on the country’s economy. However, on March 15, the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) made a decision to cut all transport links with Donbass thus fulfilling the radicals’ demand.