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Zelensky's election shows that Ukrainians want peace, not war — Russian diplomat

Russia's OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said that the election in Ukraine "demonstrated the attitude of the majority of Ukrainians toward the failed policies of outgoing president Pyotr Poroshenko"
Russia's OSCE Envoy Alexander Lukashevich Ilya Pitalev/TASS
Russia's OSCE Envoy Alexander Lukashevich
© Ilya Pitalev/TASS

VIENNA, May 23. /TASS/. The election of Vladimir Zelensky as Ukrainian president showed the international community that Ukrainians want peace, not war, Russian Permanent Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

"On May 20 Vladimir Zelensky was inaugurated as Ukraine's president. His election clearly demonstrated the attitude of the majority of Ukrainians toward the failed policies of outgoing president Pyotr Poroshenko, whose policies were based on frantic Russophobia, support for radical nationalism and suppression of dissent. The international community now sees that people in Ukraine want peace, not war," Lukashevich said.

He noted that Zelensky assumed responsibility for governing a country with a lot of problems accumulated by his predecessors, in particular the ongoing military operation in Donbass and incomplete settlement of the intra-Ukrainian crisis.

"Despite the fact that Vladimir Zelensky did not mention in his inauguration speech the Minsk Agreements and their implementation, we proceed from the assumption that the newly-elected Ukrainian president and his team understand the importance of the Minsk Package of Measures from 12 February 2015, which was supported by UN Security Council Resolution 2202 from 17 February 2015 and endorsed in the statement by UN SC chairperson from 6 June 2018," Lukashevich added.

"In his inauguration speech, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said a ceasefire is his key priority in Donbass. He said he is ready for dialogue and for toucg decisions. The weeks and months to come will be a test for him. We expect that concrete practical steps will be taken to establish a ceasefire as was declared," he stressed.

He also said that the Ukrainian side should not delay the appointment of new negotiators to the Minsk Contact Group. "The current pause was provoked by the resignation of the former president’s team and dismissal of key Ukrainian negotiators. We regret that the Contact Group meeting scheduled for May 22 did not take place. In was postponed to June 5," the Russian diplomat noted.

Lukashevich warned Kiev against selective interpretation of the Package of Measures on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. "Ceasefire is its first and foremost provision. But it is not the only one. Other important things include establishment of a direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, ensuring a permanent status of the law on Donbass’ special status, agreeing the modality of local election, granting amnesty to participants in the developments in Donbass, exchanging prisoners in the all-for-all format, restoring socio-economic ties, and so on. Nothing of that has been done so far," he noted.

Russia is ready to facilitate direct dialogue between the sides of the intra-Ukrainian conflict in order to achieve peace in Ukraine, Lukashevich stressed. He said that it is necessary to give an impetus to the process of crisis settlement in Ukraine. The diplomat added that Russia hopes that new Ukrainian leadership will carefully analyze the mistakes of the outgoing authorities and will strictly follow the letter and spirit of the Minsk Agreements.

"With the aim of the soonest implementation of the Package of Measures, we urge our partners to use their influence on the new authorities in Kiev to persuade them to fulfill their commitments. On our part, we are ready to facilitate the activation of direct dialogue between the parties in the intra-Ukrainian conflict for the sake of achieving peace in this fraternal neighboring country," he said.

The diplomat also noted the importance of the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine. "In the framework of large-scale political developments in Ukraine, the role and responsibility of OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine also grows — both in the context of monitoring the sides' adherence to the ceasefire regime in Donbass and the observation of human rights and freedoms," Lukashevich said.

"Everything possible should be done to prevent 'hot heads' from using the situation to fan tensions," he added. The diplomat also stressed the importance of ensuring security for SMM observers and sparing them from provocations.