Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov considers US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker's statement on the mandatory withdrawal of Russian troops from the Donbas to contradict the efforts of the Normandy format countries.
"There is a way forward: it is an unswerving, conscientious implementation of the Minsk agreements. This has long been carefully handled by the assistants of our leaders in the Normandy format, who agree on a 'road map' that synchronizes steps that increase security with steps that lead to a political settlement. This work is ongoing, and I very much hope that the statements of Mr. Volker, which directly contradict what Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine are doing in the Normandy format, will not interfere with the preparation of this 'road map',” said Lavrov at a press briefing.
He also said that, after the car used by the OSCE observers exploded in the Luhansk region, Russia has supported the idea of arming the mission. At the same time, he said, after the mission itself refused to carry weapons, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in favor of the introduction of an armed UN mission to the Donbas "to protect the OSCE observers." According to Lavrov, Ukraine rejected this idea, but Germany and France see this as an opportunity to reach an agreement.
Volker's statements regarding the format of the UN mission were interpreted by the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry as "the occupation of the Donbas."
"Volker was recently in Kyiv, where he made a number of landmark statements, from which it became clear what alternative to our project the American handlers of the Ukrainian government are preparing ... He said that it is necessary for the peacekeepers to ‘occupy’ - he used a different word, but that is the idea - that peacekeepers should occupy the whole Donbas, take it in a ring, and only then the US will support President Poroshenko's actions to fulfill all of his obligations," Lavrov said.
He also said that Russia is confident that Ukraine will not fulfill any of its promises after UN peacekeepers, whom Lavrov called "the occupation forces," are introduced to the Donbas.
Earlier, People's Deputy Voldymyr Ariev said that Volker is preparing theses for a resolution on the UN peacekeeping mission in the Donbas. The resolution itself will be ready by the end of the year.
Volker considers the Russian version for the deployment of peacekeepers in Donbas to be unacceptable. In addition, Volker said that the representatives of the separatist DPR and LPR have no place in the negotiation process to resolve the situation in the Donbas.