Sergei Lavrov. Source: Russian Foreign Ministry / Facebook
Kiev is evading direct dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics and is trying to substitute it with new initiatives not stipulated by the Minsk agreements of February 12, 2015, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"The understanding of the need to make the first step toward settling the Ukraine crisis, that is, to ensure Kiev's direct dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, is growing. This is a key step toward a settlement, and this is the main essence of the Minsk agreements of February 12. Unfortunately, the Kiev authorities are so far evading such direct dialogue and trying to substitute it with various new ideas and new formats that have not been discussed and have not been stipulated by the Minsk documents," Lavrov said at a press conference after participating in a session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in Brussels on May 19.
"There are very important aspects on which the Council of Europe is starting to act in the context of the Ukraine crisis. First of all, this is the facilitation of a constitutional reform. It is currently being carried out not in compliance with the Minsk agreements, which envision Donetsk and Lugansk representatives' direct involvement in this process. We called on the Council of Europe secretary-general and all members of the Committee of Ministers to make sure that those understandings stipulated by the Minsk agreements of February 12 be fully taken into account in the work on a constitutional reform, a judicial system reform, and other reforms in Ukraine," he said.
Lavrov pointed out that the Council of Europe has adopted a special action plan to support efforts aimed at calming the situation down and instituted 25 missions in each region of Ukraine to help resolve issues related to local self-government and decentralization of government bodies.
"We called for being guided by the relevant section of the Minsk agreements in these activities. We also supported the Council of Europe's further engagement in efforts toward investigating the crimes on Maidan. We believe it would be important to extend the mandate to other incidents that have happened in Ukraine over the past year. Justice must be restored, and those guilty of these crimes must be brought to justice," Lavrov said.
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