As fighting continued between Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow rebels, more residents of towns and
villages in eastern Ukraine made their way toward the border and sought refuge in Russia’s Rostov
region on June 21.
Newscast Media BRUSSELS—Several European foreign ministers are threatening
further sanctions if Russia fails to both cooperate with Ukraine’s proposed peace plan
and halt what Europe sees as interference in the country’s east.
The bloc has so far ordered visa bans and asset freezes for officials but refrained
from imposing broader economic sanctions on Russia.
Ahead of the EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on June 23, British Foreign
Secretary William Hague said the EU will be able to agree further measures at a
summit of EU leaders on June 27, if necessary.
He said Moscow must be in “no doubt” it faces further sanctions.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt accused Russia of “conducting a propaganda war
with full speed,” adding that Moscow must face further sanctions unless it changes
Meanwhile, the European Council said it has finalized technical preparations ahead of
the signature of an Association Agreement with Kyiv in Brussels on June 27.
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
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia’s stand on Ukraine is sound and consistent but
runs into the ‘concrete wall’ of Western censorship, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s
press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.
“Those explanations do not pass, not because they are ungrounded, on the contrary,
Russia’s position is consistent and sound, but they do not pass because they run into
the coarse concrete wall of censorship,” Peskov said.
Moscow has described the uprising in Kiev as an illegitimate fascist coup and a
military seizure of power, which resulted in it taking steps to protect ethnic Russians
in Ukraine, including the reunification of Crimea.
The move was heavily criticized by the US and EU, who imposed targeted sanctions
against several Russian officials and suspended cooperation in certain areas.
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen once again urged
Russia to pull back its troops from the border with Ukraine. In earlier statements,
Rasmussen suggested pro-federalization rallies that have been sweeping across
eastern Ukraine were staged by pro-Russian separatists.
Peskov also slammed the West for its reluctance to listen to Russia’s confirmation
that it has no troops in Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded on Monday, saying that Russia was
not meddling with Ukraine’s internal affairs.
Source: Ria Novosti