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Lavrov says Ukrainian president wants to bury Minsk agreements

"They want them dead in a way which would allow them to blame Russia and the people in the east of Ukraine", the Russian foreign minister has stressed
Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov
Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko
© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

MOSCOW, March 29. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes that President Pyotr Poroshenko wants to bury the accords on peace settlement in eastern Ukraine.

"On the Minsk agreements, I believe that the Ukrainian government and President Poroshenko personally want them dead," Lavrov said in an interview with the National Interest.

"They want them dead in a way which would allow them to blame Russia and the people in the east of Ukraine," he said. "They certainly encountered huge opposition from the radicals, and the radicals believe that this government is weak enough just to wait it out and to have either early elections or to have another Maidan."

"The Ukrainian government wants to provoke the other side to blink first and to say, enough is enough, we drop from the Minsk deal," Lavrov said. "That’s why the economic blockade, that’s why the prohibition for the banks to serve the population in the east."

"By the way, in the Minsk agreements, two years ago we discussed the difficulties in banking services for this part of Ukraine and Germany and France committed themselves to organizing mobile banking, and they failed because they could never get cooperation from the Ukrainian authorities," he said.

Lavrov believes Poroshenko made his biggest mistake in 2015.

"The biggest mistake <…> was that after he signed this agreement in February 2015 in Minsk, and he came back with the success, with the support of Germany, France, then the Security Council in New York endorsed this deal, and he should have used this moment to impress upon his parliament, upon the opposition, that this was a good deal supported by the European Union, where he wanted to join," he said.

"Instead, he started apologizing in front of his opposition when he got back to Kiev saying, you should not think this is serious, I did not commit myself to anything in the legal way-in the legally binding way-this is not what you read," Lavrov said. "He cornered himself in the situation of an absolutely irresponsible politician who signed one thing and who was saying that this is not what he signed one week later when he came back."

"The opposition felt that this was his weakness and they started carving out of his position anything which was still reasonable," he said.

"But my impression is that he tries to be constructive, to find ways to come back to the Minsk implementation," Lavrov said. "The fact that every day he is in contact with Vladimir Putin, they talk over the phone sometimes, they talk on the margins of the meetings of the Normandy Format when the leaders have their meetings; the last one was in October in Berlin last year."

"But the next day he comes back to Kiev or goes abroad, and goes public saying things which are absolutely aggressive and are absolutely unfair," he said.

Ex-MP's assassination in Kiev 

Pyotr Poroshenko’s claims that the murder of former member of the Russian parliament Denis Voronenkov in Kiev was an act of terror from Russia should be based on facts, the Russian diplomat said. 

"President Poroshenko two hours after the guy [Voronenkov] was murdered says that this was a terrorist attack from Russia - who also blew up the munition depot near Kharkov. It was said a few hours later by the president of a democratic country, whom our American and European friends call a beacon of democracy. I thought democracy was about establishing facts when you have suspicions," Lavrov stressed.

Voronenkov was killed in Kiev on March 23 in a shootout at the entrance of Premier Palace hotel at around 13:00 hours. When Voronenkov was walking out of the hotel into the street in the company of a bodyguard, a gunman approached them and made several shots from a handgun. An exchange of fire between the killer and Voronenkov's bodyguard followed, with both of them getting wounds and taken to hospital subsequently. The killer died in hospital later.

The State Duma, the lower house of Russia's Federal Assembly stripped Voronenkov of parliamentary immunity in December 2014 in connection with a criminal case over an illegal seizure of a building in downtown Moscow. Voronenkov emigrated to Ukraine in October 2016. In February 2017, the Russian authorities issued charges with swindling to him and placed him on an international wanted list.