In a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday, April 22, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed the need for the Kiev authorities to comply conscientiously with the Geneva agreement of April 17. Lavrov urged Kiev to “cancel the orders on the use of the army against the population, to disarm Right Sector militants and other ultranationalist groups, release protesters in the south-eastern regions from detention and stop their prosecution, and launch a comprehensive constitutional reform by taking real steps not by making declarations.”
Kerry, who telephoned Lavrov, said the Kiev authorities had already declared relevant steps towards this goal but did not provide any concrete corroborating facts.
The Russian minister and the US secretary agreed to continue contacts on these issues.
Lavrov said on Monday, April 21, that the Ukrainian authorities were not complying with the Geneva agreement.
“The Kiev authorities are doing nothing, not moving a finger to eliminate the causes of the current deep crisis in Ukraine,” Lavrov said. “The Right Sector has been running things in different cities in central and western Ukraine for almost half a year, trying to spread its influence to the eastern regions by force,” he said.
“Buildings in Kiev which were seized by force at the start of the events in Ukraine have not been vacated, the streets have not been unblocked and the ‘Maidan’ [general term meaning public protests against the authorities] continues to ‘boom’, excuse the term. The leaders appointed by the Verkhovna Rada [parliament] are saying openly that the Geneva agreement does not apply to the ‘Maidan’ because the Kiev City Council or city administration has made the decision that the ‘Maidan’ may stay on and that it is legitimate. This is absolutely unacceptable,” the minister said.
The Geneva meeting on the situation in Ukraine on April 17 agreed on initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens.
All sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants strongly condemned and rejected all expressions of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including anti-Semitism.
All illegal armed groups must be disarmed; all illegally seized buildings must be returned to legitimate owners; all illegally occupied streets, squares and other public places in Ukrainian cities and towns must be vacated.
Amnesty will be granted to protestors and to those who have left buildings and other public places and surrendered weapons, with the exception of those found guilty of capital crimes.
It was agreed that the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission should play a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the immediate implementation of these de-escalation measures wherever they are needed most, beginning in the coming days. The US, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, including by providing monitors.
The announced constitutional process will be inclusive, transparent and accountable. It will include the immediate establishment of a broad national dialogue, with outreach to all of Ukraine’s regions and political constituencies, and allow for the consideration of public comments and proposed amendments.
The participants underlined the importance of economic and financial stability in Ukraine and would be ready to discuss additional support as the above steps are implemented.