Russia: Kiev must take initiative to de-escalate tension
Newscast Media KIEV—Moscow believes that Kiev should take the first steps to
de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
“We have no doubt that the first steps should be taken by Kiev’s authorities. This is
absolutely undeniable,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov added that the coup-imposed Kiev authorities should acknowledge their
responsibility in a February 21 reconciliation deal and last week’s international
agreement reached in Geneva.
On February 21, Ukrainian authorities and opposition leaders signed an agreement
backed by the European Union on settling the crisis, including the establishment of a
national unity government within 10 days.
The next day, Ukraine underwent a regime change resembling a military coup. The
country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution
and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25.
Moscow has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of these actions and has called on
the sides to abide by the February 21 agreement. Eastern and southeastern cities of
Ukraine refused to accept the legitimacy of Kiev authorities and have been staging
protests since March.
In a bid to de-escalate the ongoing conflict, top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the
United States and the European Union approved a statement on April 17 calling on
the sides in Ukraine to refrain from violence, extremism and provocations, disarm
militants and launch a national dialogue on constitutional reform.
In violation of the Geneva deal, a group of unknown gunmen, allegedly members of
the Right Sector far-right group, killed at least three people in an attack on a
checkpoint near Slaviansk this weekend. The Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the
attack as “provocation” that pointed to Kiev’s reluctance to disarm nationalists and
Source: Ria Novosti