West unwilling to facilitate peace in Ukraine: Russian FM
Iran Press TV
Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:17AM
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the threats by Western countries to impose new sanctions on Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis are indicative of their reluctance to facilitate peace in east Ukraine.
"Behind these calls [for sanctions] lies the unwillingness of these figures, these relevant countries, the United States, the European Union, to seek the implementation of what was agreed in Minsk on February 12," Lavrov said on Thursday in reference to a peace deal reached earlier in the Belarusian capital.
Ukraine's warring sides reached a deal, dubbed Minsk II, at a summit attended by the leaders of Russia, France, and Germany in Minsk on February 11 and 12. The agreement introduced measures such as a ceasefire, which commenced on February 15, the pullout of heavy weapons, and constitutional reform in Ukraine by the end of the year.
Lavrov also said that the Western countries are trying "to whip up hysterical sentiment, to deflect attention from the need to follow the Minsk agreement."
He further called the West's demands regarding the enforcement of the truce "laughable," saying, "Everyone understands perfectly well that there are no ideal truces and ideal ceasefires."
The top Russian diplomat also said that the fighting in eastern Ukraine has decreased. "After all, the truce is producing results."
Lavrov's comments came a day after the European Council's President Donald Tusk told the EU legislature that additional bans remain on the table, adding, "We should be ready for any development – good or bad."
The EU has so far imposed visa bans and asset freezes on 151 individuals and 37 entities, and has imposed economic sanctions on Moscow.
Donetsk and Lugansk are two mainly Russian-speaking regions in eastern Ukraine that have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush protests there.
Nearly 5,700 people have been killed and close to a million have been displaced since the armed conflict began in eastern Ukraine in April 2014.
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