Moscow hopes external actors will persuade Kiev to sit at the negotiating table with militiamen, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“We are very hopeful that relevant signals will be also be sent to the Ukrainian government, given the close ties between other groups of external actors and the authorities in Kiev,” he told a press conference after talks with his counterparts from Germany, France and Ukraine in Berlin on Wednesday.
“We believe that everyone here must act in unison and urge all those who now oppose one another in Ukraine to start a dialogue,” the minister added.
At the same Lavrov noted that Moscow “has certain possibilities to be able to influence those who protect their houses, their relatives, their families, their soil and want their rights be recognized and respected in the Ukrainian state”.
“We have many times called, and continue to call, on all those involved in the standoff to get down to the negotiating table and solve issues through dialog. We do this publically. We call once again, in public, for this in the declaration that we agreed on together with our Ukrainian, German and French counterparts,” he said.
“By the way representatives of the militia, in particular [prime minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic] Mr. Borodai has stated publically today that in response to these calls on behalf of Russia and the OSCE they are ready for consultations on how to agree on peace terms,” Lavrov added.
Members of the OSCE mission in Ukraine must monitor compliance with the new truce in the country’s southeast after an agreement was reached to that effect, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
“Under the document, the ceasefire, once agreed upon, will be monitored by the OSCE mission which is already operating in Ukraine,” Lavrov said after a meeting with his German, French and Ukrainian counterparts in Berlin on Wednesday.
“We hope this mission will monitor compliance with the ceasefire and register breaches by both sides, because until now, the previous declaration of a ceasefire has been effected by breaches on both sides,” the minister added.
The Russia, German, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers, at a meeting on Wednesday, called for setting up a contact group as soon as possible to agree terms for a new ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
“We were able today to agree a declaration, thereby fulfilling a task from our leaders, and we can report that this task has been carried out. The main point of that document is the need to urgently agree terms for a sustained, lasting truce,” Lavrov told reporters after the meeting, held in Berlin.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday reaffirmed that Russia is willing to have Ukrainian border guards and monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe posted on its border with Ukraine.
“Of course, all this would be in effect for the ceasefire period. All this will become possible only after a ceasefire is agreed and declared,” Lavrov stated. He thanked the other three ministers for supporting the Russian initiative.
“We propose doing so via the earliest possible convocation of a contact group, which, we hope, will meet within days and agree the terms for a truce that will satisfy all sides,” he said.
Sergei Lavrov is convinced that a ceasefire in Ukraine can only be negotiated under the terms of a Contact Group.
“It is clear that when we say that a ceasefire needs negotiating, this can only be done in a format that represents both sides in the conflict and I am very hopeful it will help achieve the result that we all want, to which we are all working,” Lavrov said.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after the four-party ministerial meeting in Berlin on Wednesday that the foreign ministers of Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia have managed to work out a number of measures to achieve a truce in east Ukraine.
“At today’s talks the parties managed to agree a package of measures which cumulatively will lead to a reliable mutual truce in east Ukraine,” the German minister said.
The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine backed the idea of sending Ukrainian border guards and OSCE observers to Russian checkpoints, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, Interfax reports.
The contact group on Ukraine will continue negotiations during this week, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Wednesday. The ministers who have assembled here have backed the decision to return to the contact group’s negotiations which should be held before July 5, he said.
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov is expected to take part in a meeting Wednesday with the Foreign ministers of Germany, France, and Ukraine. The talks are to take place in Berlin and are aimed to boost efforts towards settling the Ukrainian crisis.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry official said on Tuesday night that Lavrov, during a telephone conversation with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had welcomed the idea of meeting in such a format:
“In furtherance of efforts to bring the situation back to the negotiating channel, the proposal made by Frank-Walter Steinmeier to hold a meeting in Berlin on July 2 of the Foreign ministers of Russia, Germany, France, and Ukraine in Berlin was supported with due regard for the understandings reached during their teleconference on June 30 on instructions of the leaders of the four states.”
Lavrov and Steinmeier discussed the Ukrainian situation in the scope of Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s decision not to extend the ceasefire, the Ministry official pointed out.
“Both Ministers expressed concern in view of the intensification of combat actions in Ukraine’s southeast, called for putting an end to the bloodshed, and declared in favour of an urgent resumption of the activities of the Contac Group with a view to fixing by the sides of matters regarding cessation of fire and the creation of conditions for the start of talks,” the official emphasized.
On Monday, Lavrov conveyed the proposal made by Russian President Vladimir Putin to post officials of Ukraine’s Border Service and OSCE observers at Ukraine’s border-crossing stations for joint monitoring and clearance of any possible suspicions.
Lavrov expressed hope that the Russian president’s initiative would enable those, on whom this depends, to ensure the decision on the ceasefire extension.
Moscow has demanded that Kiev stop shelling cities and villages in southeastern Ukraine and reinstate a ceasefire. “We are once again strongly demanding that the Ukrainian authorities, if they are still able to sensibly assess the consequences of their criminal policy, stop shelling peaceful cities and villages in their own country and reinstate a real ceasefire so as to spare people’s lives,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary available on its website on Wednesday.
“Resolving Ukraine’s political problems through physically exterminating citizens of their own country hardly meets the standards of civilized European society, which Kiev is aspiring to today,” it said.
The Foreign Ministry also condemned the Ukrainian leadership’s claims on a “humane” application of the armed forces in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions as “hypocritical.”