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Kiev 'breaking Geneva accord' on Ukraine: Russia

BBC Online
Pro-Russian activists have shown little sign of wanting to leave their positions in Donetsk
Pro-Russian activists have shown little sign of wanting to leave their positions in Donetsk

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the Kiev authorities of breaking last week's Geneva accord on resolving the Ukraine crisis.

He said the Kiev government - not recognised by Moscow - had not moved to disarm illegal groups, especially the ultra-nationalist Right Sector.

"Extremists are calling the tune," he alleged, condemning a fatal shooting near Sloviansk, in eastern Ukraine.

He also condemned the continuing Maidan street protests in Kiev.

He said it was "absolutely unacceptable" that the Ukrainian authorities had failed to end what he called the illegal protests in the capital.

'CRUDE VIOLATION'

Early on Sunday at least three people were killed in a shooting at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near Sloviansk.

The circumstances remain unclear. The local separatists said the attack was carried out by Right Sector militants. Kiev called it a "provocation" staged by Russian special forces.

Lavrov said the incident proved Kiev did not want to control "extremists".

He said that the most important demand of the Geneva deal was to "prevent any violence", and it was not being implemented.

"Steps are being taken - above all by those who seized power in Kiev - which crudely violate the accords reached in Geneva," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

The 17 April Geneva accord was agreed at talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US.

It demanded an immediate end to violence in eastern Ukraine and called on illegal armed groups to surrender their weapons and leave official buildings.

Pro-Russian militants are still holding official buildings in at least nine towns and cities in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

The interim authorities in Kiev said they had suspended operations against pro-Russian militants over Easter, and appealed for national unity.

They promised to meet some of the demands of pro-Russian protesters, which include the decentralisation of power and guarantees for the status of the Russian language.

But the US has warned the next few days will be pivotal and has threatened more sanctions against Russia if it fails to abide by the agreement.

But Lavrov stressed any attempt to isolate Russia from the rest of the world was doomed to fail.

"We are a big and independent power that knows what it wants," he said, adding that "the overwhelming majority of states in the world do not want Russia's isolation."

Ukraine has been in crisis since last November, when Kiev was gripped by protests against President Viktor Yanukovych over his rejection of an economic pact with the EU.

He was toppled in February and fled to Russia.

Russia then annexed Crimea following a regional referendum that approved joining the Russian federation. The annexation provoked international outrage.

Russian President Vladimir Putin today submitted a bill to parliament to establish a gambling zone in Crimea.

He also signed a decree to rehabilitate Crimea's Muslim Tatars and other ethnic minorities who suffered during the rule of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The 300,000-strong Tatar community - which makes up 15% of Crimea's population - opposed the peninsula's incorporation into Russia last month.

Published: 6:12 pm Monday, April 21, 2014

Last modified: 10:08 pm Monday, April 21, 2014

TAGS: Ukraine Kiev Russia Ukraine crisis Geneva accord

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