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Ukraine should not fear federalization — Lavrov

Lavrov cited US and Switzerland as example of states with a high degree federalization, but strong national unity

MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. Ukraine should not be afraid of losing its national identity if it becomes a federation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Kommersant daily, published on Wednesday.

"Take the United States, for example - it’s a federation in which states have greater powers than in many other federations. The Swiss Confederation gives vast powers to cantons, but it’s a very strong, unified country," he said. "I see no reason why Ukraine should be afraid of its identity becoming weaker if it understands that very different people live on its territory. Very different groups of people live in Russia, too. Yes, there can be tensions and conflicts, but there is always a possibility to achieve consent, if the rights of minorities are respected."

Lavrov said that even before the Minsk agreements on Ukrainian reconciliation, he was among those who agreed a one-page document on Ukrainian reconciliation in Geneva. His partners in those talks were then foreign policy chiefs of the United States, Ukraine and the European Union.

"Then we agreed on a one-page document that called for solving everything through negotiations, for taking into account the expectations of not only Donbass, but of all regions of Ukraine," the minister said. "It welcomed the then Ukrainian government’s determination to ensure decentralization and to launch the process that would take into account the opinion of all citizens of Ukraine."

According to Lavrov, this agreement was a positive signal, but Brussels, Washington and Kiev chose to forget about it "on the morning after it was adopted."

"But the initiative was promising," Russia’s top diplomat said.