Lavrov Insists the Feb. 21 and April 17 Agreements Are the Basis for Resolving the Crisis in Ukraine
April 26, 2014 • 3:38PM

While the Obama Administration continues its impotent bluster in respect to Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, both in a phone call with German Foreign Minister Steinmeier, and in an address to young diploments from the Confederation of Independent States (CIS), that the basis for solving the Ukraine crisis is the Feb. 21 agreement signed by Germany, Poland, and France, and the April 17 Geneva agreement between the United States, Russia, the EU, and Ukraine.

In the phone call with Steinmeier, Lavrov stressed that there must be a cessation of violence, and above all of the use of the Army and armed nationalist radicals in southeastern Ukraine.

The two agreed on the importance of using the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to promote agreement among various Ukrainian forces on practical steps toward de-escalation, including arranging a dialogue on issues of Constitutional reform, between the authorities in Kiev and representatives of Southeast Ukraine.

Before the phone call, Lavrov stressed that it is necessary to start by taking the steps provided for in the Feb. 21 agreement, signed by leaders of the Supreme Rada coalition and witnessed by the foreign ministers of Germany, Poland, and France. This would make it possible to begin a de-escalation in practice, in accordance with the Geneva statement. Russia consistently supports its full implementation, including the activity of the OSCE mission.

In addressing the CIS young diplomats, Lavrov stated:

"We do not counterpose Eurasian integration to other integration projects, in particular those going on in the EU. We are ready and interested in harmonizing these processes. As President Putin has said, our strategic goal is to create, in the future, a unified economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific, where all the nations of the EU and the future participants of the Eurasian integration process, and other countries located in this area could co-exist and cooperate for their mutual benefit. Then there would be no imposition of the false choice, either for us, or against us.

"We have repeatedly told our western partners about the danger of such an approach. Unfortunately, our warnings have come true in the events in Ukraine. We were ignored, when we called for trilateral consultations among Russia, the EU, and Ukraine, in order not to tear up Ukrainian society and its economy, but rather to see what could be done for the European, Eurasian, and Russian vectors not to be counterposed against each other, but brought into harmony. I repeat, we were ignored. And now that country is experiencing a profound crisis."

He said Russia will continue to pursue implementation of the Geneva Statement, but that unilateral demands are out of place, such as those being made by the United States.

"Instead of making their protégés in Kiev (and we have been able to see repeatedly, that the Americans have the decisive influence on them) begin to implement the agreement, starting with releasing the illegally occupied buildings, and disarming Right Sector and other radicals, the Americans state that everything the Ukrainian authorities are doing is legitimate. The Maidan has received some kind of a license from the government to stay where they are. At the same time, we are told that Russia should release administrative buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, Slavyansk, and other cities of southeastern Ukraine. Furthermore, U.S. State Department representatives, Victoria Nuland in particular, say that what was agreed on April 17 in Geneva was for separatists to leave buildings in the southeastern regions. This is a lie. This could not be written, because we advocated an approach to ensure simultaneity of the processes and equal obligations, regarding the release of any illegally held buildings, and the disarmament of all illegal groupings.

"Talking about de-escalation, one should remember who began the escalation. It was begun by the current Kiev authorities, who as oppositionists carried out an armed coup d'état, and violated the agreement they had signed in the presence of the Foreign Ministers of Poland, Germany, and France, obliging them to disarm, launch constitutional reform, and hold elections only thereafter. Instead, they overthrew a legally elected President, declared themselves to be the government, and did not lift a finger to disarm Right Sector or release the illegally occupied buildings. And now they claim that Russia supposedly signed something in Geneva that legitimizes the actions of the current regime (which is a lie), and they demand steps toward de-escalation to be taken by southeastern Ukraine alone.

"Russia will continue to insist on respect for the Geneva agreements. We categorically reject attempts to distort them and impose on world public opinion the impression that what was agreed on in Geneva is what the U.S.A. says now. This is not the case. America's propagandistic power, the whole time, has been aimed at distorting the picture of what is happening in Ukraine, lying about the Russian Federation, and beating down those who are protesting against the illegal actions of the authorities who are trying to ban the Russian language, calling them all Russians and Russian-speaking enemies. The U.S.A. is doing everything it can to distort what is happening in Ukraine and to blame Russia, as was expressed in the unacceptable prosecutorial tones of yesterday's statement by Secretary of State John Kerry, regarding the Putin propaganda machine, such as Russia Today TV."