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Kiev must immediately de-escalate east Ukraine crisis, call back troops - Moscow

Published time: April 23, 2014 13:38
Edited time: April 24, 2014 05:28
Ukrainian soldiers drive an airborne combat vehicle near Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 16, 2014. (Reuters / Marko Djurica)

Ukrainian soldiers drive an airborne combat vehicle near Kramatorsk, in eastern Ukraine April 16, 2014. (Reuters / Marko Djurica)

Kiev authorities must “immediately” deescalate the situation in southeast Ukraine by withdrawing its troops from the region, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has said, adding that Kiev must start nationwide talks and stop “distorting” the Geneva agreement.

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“The Russian side once again insists on an immediate de-escalation of the situation in the southeast of Ukraine, the withdrawal of divisions of the Ukrainian Army and the start of a real inter-Ukrainian dialogue including all the regions and political entities of the country,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.

Moscow is “surprised” by Kiev’s interpretation of the four-sided Geneva agreement adopted by Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU on April 17, it added.

Despite the call for disarmament of “all the illegal armed groups” specified by the agreement, Kiev, Washington and a number of European leaders “keep harping on the necessity to ‘hand over weapons’ [referring] only to the Ukrainian citizens defending their rights in southeastern Ukraine.” With that, the Western powers “are turning a blind eye to the ongoing provocative actions of the gunmen of the far-right groups, including that of the so-called Right Sector.”

Such actions, which have been taking place in both the capital, Kiev, and in southeastern Ukrainian cities, “have already led to death of people overnight into April 20,” the ministry said.

Russia continues to believe that the Western partners are “earnest” in their stated commitment for the peaceful resolving of the Ukrainian crisis, the statement said. However, the facts “regretfully speak to the opposite,” it added. Kiev has not moved to enter a dialogue with the regions of Ukraine protesting against its rule, while the US officials have apparently chosen not to discourage the coup-imposed authorities in their “strong-arm ambitions.”

Immediately after US Vice-President Joseph Biden ended his April 21-22 talks and left the Ukrainian capital, Kiev announced the renewal of the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine, the statement noted. Previously, CIA director’s John Brennan’s April 13 visit to Kiev coincided with the start of the same military operation, it said.

Moscow blasted the US-backed distinction between “legally occupied” buildings in central Kiev at the Independence Square (Maidan) and the “illegally occupied” buildings in southeastern Ukraine, calling US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland’s recent statements on the issue “absolutely incorrect.”

The statements voiced by the Ukrainian oligarch and multibillionaire Igor Kolomoysky, picked by the Kiev authorities as the governor of the Dnepropetrovsk Region, “look even more absurd,” the ministry said. Kolomoysky’s deputy Boris Filatov recently announced a $10,000 bounty for each “Russian mercenary” captured and handed over to the Kiev-backed authorities and a $200,000 reward for each regional administration building freed. Filatov also said the servicemen at the Mariupol military base, who on April 16 killed three people and injured 13 more during an attempted storming allegedly inspired by the anti-government activists, have been paid 500,000 hryvnas ($43,000).

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