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Russia surprised by distorted interpretation of Geneva statement by Kiev

Moscow is surprised by the distorted interpretation of the Geneva statement by the Kiev authorities and their American partners, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, April 23.

"The statement says that all illegal armed groups must be disarmed. However, instead of taking effective measures to implement this agreement, Kiev and Washington and some European capitals keep talking about the need to 'surrender arms' only by Ukrainian citizens who are defending their rights in the southeast of Ukraine, while turning a blind eye to the continuing provocations by militants from ultra-right forces, specifically the so-called Right Sector, both in Kiev and different cities in the South and East of the country, which resulted in the loss of human life on the night to April 20," the ministry said.

Russia "continues to believe in the seriousness of our Western partners when they speak about their commitment to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the political crisis in Ukraine. However fact, alas, prove otherwise. We are still waiting for Kiev to fulfill its promises as it is responsible for fostering dialogue with Ukrainian regions, including in the South-East," the ministry said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier this week urged Kiev to "cancel orders on use of 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".

Lavrov said 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 USA, EU and Russia commit to support this mission, in particular, by providing observers.

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.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 23Apr14]

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