Kiev continues to strengthen its forces in the Donbass, Lavrov tells Frenchman Le Drian – Russian Politics & Diplomacy

MOSCOW, February 19. /TASS/. The head of Russian diplomacy Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday by telephone to his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian that Ukraine is strengthening its military forces on the line of contact in the Donbass and is continuing its armed provocations, the Russian ministry announced on Saturday. Foreign Affairs.

“The parties underlined that under the passive eye of Paris and Berlin, which are parties to the Normandy talks, Kyiv is blatantly refraining from its commitments under the Minsk package of measures, strengthening its military forces on the line of contact in Donbass and the east is carrying out a campaign on the militarization of citizens and continuing armed provocations,” the statement said.

Senior diplomats have once again confirmed that there is no alternative to implementing the Minsk agreements to achieve lasting peace in Ukraine, the ministry said.

Lavrov also drew Le Drian’s attention to the fact that the reason for the lack of progress in resolving the Ukrainian crisis is Kyiv’s reluctance to respect the Minsk agreements. “During the discussion on the situation in southeastern Ukraine, Lavrov referred to the lack of progress in resolving the inter-Ukrainian conflict, with the authorities in Kyiv being reluctant to fully respect the Minsk agreements, including on direct dialogue with representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk, confirmation of the special status of Donbass as part of Ukraine in the constitution,” the ministry said.

The head of Russian diplomacy told his French counterpart that the West’s disregard for Russia’s security rights affects stability in Europe and the world in general.

Building on Russia’s moves to agree legally binding security guarantees in Europe, Lavrov told Le Drian that all states should abide by commitments endorsed at the highest level of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and within the framework of Russia and NATO on the guarantee of “equal and indivisible security based on the balance of the interests of the parties”. Lavrov stressed that “disregard for Russia’s legal rights in this area has a negative effect on stability both on the European continent and in the world in general”.

The senior diplomats continued their exchange of views in light of the February 7 talks between the leaders of the two countries. Lavrov and Le Drian also discussed a series of topical issues of bilateral cooperation of mutual interest. They also discussed other political contacts. The conversation took place on the initiative of the French side.

The West and Kyiv have echoed allegations about Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed the claims as “empty and groundless”, serving as a ploy to escalate tensions, stressing that Russia poses no threat to anyone. However, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations aimed at justifying such claims and warned that attempts to use military force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have serious consequences. Amid the growing threat of combat action, the self-declared republics announced on Friday the evacuation of civilians to Russia.

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