Russia Tells West That Ukraine Must Abide By Commitments

 
on April 21 2014 3:03 PM
Ukraine Pro Russia East 21April2014
A masked pro-Russian man stand guard near a barricade outside a regional government building in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, April 21, 2014. Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his U.S. and German counterparts on Monday the government in Kiev must refrain from violence and abide by an agreement reached last week to cool tensions in Ukraine.

In a phone call, Lavrov urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to "influence Kiev, not let hotheads there provoke a bloody conflict, and impel the current Ukrainian leadership to fulfill its obligations unflaggingly," the foreign ministry said.

The Russian statement was issued shortly after the State Department said Kerry, in the call with Lavrov, had urged Russia to help implement the agreement reached on Thursday between RussiaUkraine, theUnited States and the European Union.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have ignored the agreement's calls to stop occupying buildings. But Lavrov's message was that the onus is on the Kiev government and the West to make the deal to de-escalate tension in Ukraine work.

He told Kerry the agreement was threatened by "the inability and lack of desire of the Kiev authorities to put an end to violent acts by ultranationalists ... and to end arrests and free activists of the protest movement in southeastern Ukraine."

In a separate conversation with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lavrov "underlined the need for the strict and comprehensive fulfillment of the points of the Geneva declaration by the authorities in Kiev," the statement said.

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