Russia tells West that Kiev must abide by commitments

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 fulfil its obligations unflaggingly"

Russia tells West that Kiev must abide by commitments

World Bulletin/News Desk

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 fulfil 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 Russia, Ukraine, the United 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 fulfilment of the points of the Geneva declaration by the authorities in Kiev," the statement said.

With pro-Moscow separatists showing no sign of surrendering government buildings they have seized in eastern Ukraine, Washington pegged a threat of new sanctions on Russia to how hard Moscow tries to make the Geneva agreement work.

"If progress is not made in coming days, we will impose further costs," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Kerry called on Russia to assign a senior diplomat to work with the OSCE mission in eastern Ukraine, Psaki said, "to make absolutely clear to the separatists that Russia supports the agreement and wants de-escalation."

Kerry told Lavrov the government of Ukraine sent senior representatives to the east with the OSCE, put forth a broad amnesty bill for separatists to give up buildings and weapons and called an Easter pause in its military operations.

"He asked that Russia now demonstrate an equal level of commitment to the Geneva agreement in both its rhetoric and its actions," Psaki said.

Russia blamed Ukrainian nationalists for an Easter Sunday morning shooting that killed three people at a checkpoint and said Kiev was failing to implement the Geneva deal.

"The secretary also made clear that Russia's recent public statement casting doubt on Ukraine's commitment to the Geneva agreement flies in the face of the facts," Psaki said.

U.S. and European officials say they will hold Moscow responsible and impose new economic sanctions if the separatists do not clear out of government buildings they have occupied across swathes of eastern Ukraine over the past two weeks.

Kerry also asked Russia to join the United States in calling for the immediate release of Imra Krat, a Ukrainian journalist being held by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2014, 22:53
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