Kiev: Military operation in Ukraine southeast to go on despite Geneva agreement
Soon after the Geneva document, adopted at a four-side meeting between Ukraine, the US, the EU and Russia, was published, Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchytsa said Kiev is not bound by its recommendations.
According to Deshchytsa cited by RIA Novosti, “the troops in the East of the country are carrying out a special operation and can remain where they are.”
This comes despite the statement issued by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry following the meeting, which says:
“All sides have pledged to refrain from any form of violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants of the meeting strongly condemned and rejected all forms of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including manifestations of anti-Semitism.”
Deshchytsa said the Ukrainian side has agreed on “joint efforts” with Russia “to start the process of de-escalation in eastern Ukraine.”
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has assessed the talks
as “frank but constructive discussions,” saying that
“it was extremely important to bring us all together here to
have that process of dialogue begin.”
“We absolutely welcomed the Ukrainian commitment to conduct an inclusive and transparent constitutional process,” Ashton said at the press-conference.
The EU diplomat stressed that measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine should be taken “immediately,” with the leading role given to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, which will “assist the Ukrainian authorities and local communities to take the necessary measures that they need to take.”
Ashton said the EU will “continue to support efforts to stabilize the situation in Ukraine economically, financially and politically.”
“Today President Barroso of the European Commission wrote to President Putin on behalf of the European Union, accepting President Putin’s proposal for consultations with Russia and Ukraine, trilateral consultations, on the security of gas supply and transit,” she added.
Speaking after the four-side meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry also gave an assurance that the Ukrainian authorities are ready to ensure “inclusive and transparent” constitutional reform. All regions of Ukraine will be included in the work towards this reform, he said.
Ukraine will take de-escalation measures in the coming days, Kerry claimed, adding that Washington will “watch that very closely.”
“All of this, we are convinced, represents a good day’s work, but on the other hand, this day’s work has produced principles, and it has produced commitments and it has produced words on paper. And we are the first to understand and agree that words on paper will only mean what the actions taken as a result of those words produce,” Kerry said.
The top US diplomat again threatened Russia with “additional sanctions, additional costs as a consequence,” if there is no progress in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, he hinted some sanctions may be lifted if the de-escalation process goes well.
All sides of the conflict in Ukraine must refrain from violence and provocations, Kerry stressed. International meetings on Ukraine should continue, he said.
During the press conference, Kerry also referred to a letter that was allegedly sent to Jewish citizens in Ukraine’s eastern town of Donetsk, asking them to register. Kerry slammed this as “intolerable” behavior. “In year 2014, after all of the miles traveled in all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable; it's grotesque, is beyond unacceptable," he stated.
This is the document that John Kerry has just referred to - calling on Jews in Donetsk to register. pic.twitter.com/6s5rnftKJ0— Kevin Bishop (@bishopk) April 17, 2014
The letter which Kerry referred to was stamped and signed by Denis Pushilin, who was identified on it as “People’s Governor.”
Pushilin denied the alleged letter, claiming it is fake. He noted that he is not and never was the so-called People’s Governor. “No one has ever elected me as one,” he told RT.
He also added that the stamp on the letter is bigger than the stamp's actual size. “The stamp on the letter is larger and looks like it has been photoshopped.”