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There must be no escalation of Ukraine violence - Putin to EU leaders

28 February 2014, 21:32

Russian President Vladimir Putin says there must be no further escalation of violence in Ukraine in phone calls with the leaders of Britain and Germany and the president of the European Council, the Kremlin said on Friday.

'The latest developments in the crisis in Ukraine were discussed substantively. It was emphasized that it is extremely important not to allow a further escalation of violence and normalize the situation as soon as possible,' the Russian presidential press service said.

'It has been agreed to continue personal contacts on the matter and intensify interaction through foreign policy agencies,' it said.

Russian FM Lavrov insists on implementing Feb 21 Ukraine agreement

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, discussed the situation in Ukraine with US Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone conversation on Friday, which was arranged at the US's initiative, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

'The Russian side once again emphasized the urgent need for returning the situation in Kiev to a legal framework and implementing the February 21 agreement, including primarily the curbing of radical extremists' actions and the promotion of a national accord based on the real consideration of interests of all political forces and all regions of Ukraine,' the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement available on its website.

Lavrov and Kerry also 'shared the opinion that it is necessary to continue direct negotiations between the parties to the conflict in Syria in Geneva,' it said. The two foreign policy chiefs also addressed 'aspects of the Middle East peace process and some relevant issues on the bilateral agenda,' it said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated during a Friday phone call 'that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place'.

US, NATO and EU show blatant hypocrisy when addressing Russia on Ukraine

Russia urged NATO to refrain from provocative statements on Ukraine and respect its non-bloc status after a chorus of Western politicians said Russia should be 'transparent' about its military drills and avoid any steps that could be 'misunderstood'.

When NATO starts giving consideration the situation in Ukraine, it sends out the wrong signal, "the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Thursday.

When Ukraine's turmoil shifted to the ethnic Russian-majority in the Crimea region, the US, NATO, and the EU have voiced concerns over the situation.

CSTO Sec Gen asks Ukrainian sides to stop confrontation, anti-constitutional actions

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is profoundly concerned about the Ukrainian situation, CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha said. 'There are destabilization and social chaos. Militants have not laid down arms but declare their intention to 'put in order' every region of Ukraine.

Threats of physical reprisal are being made. Memorials commemorating heroes of the Great Patriotic War [of 1941-1945] who freed Ukraine from the Nazis are being vandalized. There is a growth in extreme manifestations of nationalism, Russophobia and anti-Semitism,' Bordyuzha said in a statement obtained by Interfax-AVN on Friday.

'All this is happening against the backdrop of a forcible regime change and violations of the Ukrainian settlement deal concluded by the president and the opposition on February 21. The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland who certified the deal and supported the US have actually disavowed and breached the deal and denied recognition of the legitimacy of the lawfully elected Ukrainian president to whom they gave their firm assurances,' he said.

'We urge every side to stop the confrontation and anti-constitutional actions, to take the path of dialogue and start working on the restoration of stability and the provision of security,' Bordyuzha said.

'The lack of a constructive attitude and account of interests of third states in the Ukrainian settlement process will lead to further deterioration [of the situation] and will be fraught with a sharp aggravation of the situation in Europe,' he noted.

Number of injured in Kiev riots exceeds 875 people

The number of those injured in mass riots and clashes in Kiev's downtown has reached 876, the press service of the country's Public Healthcare Ministry reported on Friday.

"A total of 876 injured have applied for emergency medical aid and to the city's medical establishments in the period from February 18 to February 28, 2014. 588 of them were admitted to hospital," the statement says.

82 people were killed in the clashes, the ministry said.

Ukraine asks UN Security Council to consider situation in country

Ukraine's parliament on Friday asked the UN Security Council to call a session to discuss the crisis in the country.

It said it was appealing to the Security Council to call a session to consider the problems in Ukraine in the light of a 1993 understanding in which the big powers agreed to guarantee the territorial integrity of the country.

Verkhovna Rada decision deposing Yanukovych is illegal - Pushkov

The legitimacy of the Verkhovna Rada decision, which removed President Viktor Yanukovych from office, is highly doubtful, State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov said. 'As far as I understand, the process of Yanukovych's deposing was rather confused and its legitimacy causes qualms,' Pushkov told reporters.

The opposition leaders who struck the deal with Yanukovych on February 21 on guarantee of EU representatives agreed that he would stay in office until the presidential election. 'Yet the Verkhovna Rada claimed the day after that Yanukovych was failing his duties. How he does not fulfill his duties? He went to Kharkiv for one day, not for two or three weeks.

But that [trip] was used as a pretext for actually removing him and Turchynov proclaimed himself the acting president. Why is that, who vested him with those powers? And why was Yanukovych's departure from Kyiv automatically interpreted as a ground to strip him of powers?' Pushkov wondered.

'It seems the sole purpose of the [February] 21 agreement guaranteed by the European Union was to remove Yanukovych from office. But that agreement said he would be the president until the elections were held. This is why Yanukovych says he remains the legitimate president of Ukraine,' the parliamentarian continued.

This is a formal agreement and no one has explained why 'it was suddenly disavowed,' Pushkov said, describing the situation as a serious collision.

Crimea cannot be denied right to hold self-determination referendum - Pushkov

Crimea cannot be denied the right to hold a referendum on self-determination, head of the State Duma international affairs committee Alexei Pushkov told reporters on Friday.

"If Crimea holds a referendum, this will be an absolutely legislative and legally binding base for changing its status, if the majority of the population votes for this," he said.

Pushkov said such a referendum would be a more legal form for changing Crimea's status than "spontaneous Maidan" in Kiev.

"If we are told that the Maidan could be a source of power, well, this is the will of the people. But why then can't the will of the people be the source of power and self-determination for Crimea. I think it cannot be denied this right," the parliamentarian said.

On Thursday, the parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea announced it would hold a referendum of the autonomy's status and expansion of its powers.

'Working' contacts maintained between Russian and Ukrainian governments - Dvorkovich

The Russian and Ukrainian governments continue to maintain 'working' contacts following the change of power in Kiev, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said.

'These contacts continue at the working level,' he told Interfax after being asked whether negotiations could be held with the Ukrainian government any time soon.

Dvorkovich declined to comment on the prospects for holding official negotiations with the Ukrainian side.

Voice of Russia, TASS, Interfax, Reuters

Source: There-must-be-no-escalation-of-Ukraine- violence-Russias-Putin-to-EU-leaders-2445/

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