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Iran Press TV

EU provoking confrontations with Russia: Lavrov

Iran Press TV

Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:11PM

The Russian Foreign Minister has leveled strident criticism at European Council President Donald Tusk and European diplomats for aggravating tensions between Moscow and the 28-member European Union (EU) over Ukraine crisis.

'Currently we are at a point, where the bureaucracy of the European Union is consciously provoking a confrontation between Russia and the EU, frequently trying to portray the situation as if no progress on the implementation of the military terms of the Minsk agreement has been made," Sergei Lavrov said at a joint press briefing with his Spanish counterpart, Jose Garcia-Margallo, in Moscow on Tuesday.

He added that such actions are 'aggravating the normalization between Russia and the EU members' and are in direct conflict with the desires of a number of European countries, including Spain.

Lavrov went on to say that Moscow would respond to NATO military buildup near Russian border 'in an adequate way,' adding, 'We have confirmed our stance that military buildup near our border does not contribute to the restoration of trust in the Euro-Atlantic region.'

Garcia-Margallo, for his part, stated that Spain has suffered losses from anti-Russia sanctions "especially in the agriculture sector.'

'The Minsk agreements are being observed, good news come, weaponry is being withdrawn. So, I do not see reasons for expanding sanctions,' he noted.

During peace talks in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on February 11-12, the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed on the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Ukraine's frontlines and a ceasefire, which officially went into effect late on February 14. The warring sides, however, have continued to engage in sporadic clashes.

'Keeping or lifting sanctions depends on whether the agreements on Ukraine are being implemented or not. They [sanctions] are beneficial for no one,' the Spanish foreign minister said.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has taken a heavy toll on thousands of people. More than 6,000 people have died in the conflict, the UN says. Around 1.5 million people have been also forced from their homes over the past months of turmoil.

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