Moscow, Apr 7 (EFE).- Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday that negotiations with Ukraine had been set back after Kyiv changed its position on “important points” regarding the Crimean peninsula – which Russia annexed in 2014 – and the eastern Ukrainian region of the Donbas, where Moscow has backed pro-Russian separatist forces since 2015.
“The inability to reach agreements once again characterizes Kyiv’s genuine intentions and policy to drag out and abort negotiations through the renunciation of agreements that have already been reached,” Lavrov said in a video message posted on Telegram.
Russia’s top diplomat said Ukraine had changed its position on Wednesday on “very important points” that had been agreed on during talks in Istanbul on March 29.
“Ukraine presented its draft agreement to the negotiating group yesterday, which marks a clear departure from the most important provisions that were recorded at the Istanbul meeting on March 29 in a document signed by the Ukrainian delegation’s head (David) Arakhamia,” he said.
According to Lavrov, Ukraine had agreed that future security guarantees would not extend to Crimea and Sevastopol.
“However, there are no such statements in the draft agreement presented yesterday, it only mentions some ‘effective control’ as of February 23.
“In addition, there is an idea that the issues of Crimea and Donbas should be included in the agenda of a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents,” the foreign minister said.
Lavrov added that Kyiv had also changed a clause regarding its neutrality and non-nuclear status in which it had agreed to host military drills involving foreign parties only with the consent of all guarantor countries, including Russia.
“However, the draft document presented yesterday does not contain this clear provision and speaks about the possibility of holding drills with the consent of the majority of guarantor countries, without mentioning Russia.”
Despite what Lavrov called “provocations” by Ukraine and the West, Russia was willing to continue negotiations. EFE