Sunday, June 29, 2014

Lavrov: Kiev Should Negotiate with East

The following colloquy occurred at a press conference in Moscow with Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, on June 25. 

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Question: How do you see the process of settlement of the situation in the South-East of Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: It is necessary that Kiev understands the South-Eastern regions, hears their interests and then starts to agree on how to satisfy them, so that the population of the South-East lives in country named Ukraine as nationals having full rights, feeling that they have the right to do so. For this, we need to put some propositions on the table. They made their propositions.

We appeal to the Kiev authorities to stop using militants, battalions formed by Ihor Kolomoyskyi, – they are just extremists. You know that Ihor Kolomoyskyi simply refused to keep the cease fire. They control a significant part of the territory with its units. There are battalions of the National Guard made up of the Right Sector, as well as some minor units, which are not subordinate to anyone. The cessation of violence is a task not only for those who represent the Kiev regime and proclaimed a republic, but also for everyone, so that we attempt to remove from the equation some radical elements who do not answer to anyone. All of this has sense, only if the negotiations start. Read the plan of 15 items – none of them considers an equal negotiation process. There is a phrase there, that decentralisation will continue only after the implementation of all the 15 items, the majority of which envisages disarmament of the South-East without any guarantees. The plan of the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko proposes an amnesty. In this case, Kiev and the South-East must stop discussions of what will happen after disarmament: amnesty or they will be brought to another house of trade unions and burned.

In this situation, we should not talk using slogans, making up the largest part of the plan. This has probably been done expecting that the world community will say: “Yes, there is a peace plan having a beautiful name “peace plan of Petro Poroshenko””. At the same time, there is little interest in its content, and they appeal to us to implement it. Firstly, we cannot do this, because this plan should be implemented through negotiations with the South-East. Secondly, the content of the negotiation process should be “on the table”. Then people will react.

There was a meeting in Donetsk three days ago, which ended in a sufficiently constructive way despite its complicated beginning. There is an understanding that the cease fire will not be violated. However, the President of Ukraine announced that after the incident with the damaged helicopter, he can stop this regime earlier. Of course, this is a tragedy and it should be avoided. However, a military helicopter was flying in the place, where people outraged by many months of fighting hold positions around cities with peaceful civilians. If it was necessary to deliver medications, food or something else, relevant communication channels should have been used – it was necessary to inform them that a helicopter would come, would follow a certain route to land in a specific point and its cargo would be subjected to an inspection.

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