Lavrov: Poroshenko pushes ‘Russian aggression against Europe’ barrow as smokescreen

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov © Vladimir Astapkovich
The Ukrainian president uses Russophobic rhetoric to distract attention from his inability to fulfill the Minsk Agreements, Russia’s foreign minister says, warning the current situation in eastern Ukraine resembles a build-up to war.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is making “unthinkable, crazy statements” in order to stir up the situation, Sergey Lavrov said Monday at a news conference after meeting Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

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Sergey Lavrov quoted an interview given by the Ukrainian president to the French daily Liberation, in which Petro Poroshenko said that “Putin wants all of Europe.”

“A person who makes such statements is concerned more with sustaining Russophobia in the West, thereby distracting attention from an inability to fulfill what he signed up for,” Lavrov said, adding that a simple comparison of what Poroshenko had agreed to and what Kiev had actually done would be “a very entertaining process.”

“Moscow is ready for a conversation on this issue with those who guaranteed the trustworthiness of Kiev’s actions,” the Russian FM said.

Lavrov also said that Moscow is very worried by Kiev’s inability to make agreements.

“I hope a series of meetings of ‘the contact group’ scheduled to take place next week will change Kiev’s tendency to refuse from the direct dialogue [with the self-declared Donetsk and Lugansk Republics].”

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Lavrov added that Kiev is trying to avoid such direct contacts all the time or to impose an approach according to which all issues should be resolved without the participation of the eastern Ukrainian self-proclaimed republics.

He said Moscow is concerned by the current situation in Donbass, where one can talk more of a “frontline” than a “contact line.”

“We’re greatly alarmed by the developments [in Ukraine] recently which resemble preparations for new military actions,” said Lavrov, recalling that last August there was a similar situation.

“[In August 2014] Ukrainian military was commanded to advance, but the offensive died out and they [Kiev] agreed to negotiate. That was Minsk-1.”

The course of events was repeated in January 2015, Lavrov said, when another offensive ended in the defeat of Ukrainian troops and Kiev had to negotiate the Minsk-2 peace deal.

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“We believe there’s no need to push luck further. What’s needed is to fulfill what was agreed upon in Minsk [on February 12],” Lavrov stressed. “What I mean is not only military detente, but the beginning of a political process.”