2 Apr 2019 18:38

Lavrov neutral about Ukrainian elections

MOSCOW. April 2 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said he saw no reason to be optimistic or pessimistic about the results of the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine.

"Honestly, I saw no reason for optimism, nor for pessimism. What's to second-guess here? This is a process which must take place, has already started, and will come to an end. I don't doubt this. Nor that the West will recognize these elections," Lavrov said in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper.

For those who were watching how life within Ukraine and its outside ties were developing, "the results, and the way this process was organized, brought no surprise," he said.

"They are already calling each other puppets there... It's likely interesting to watch from outside, but I don't think that kind of democracy is satisfying for [Ukrainian] citizens," Lavrov said.

As for cooperation prospects between the two countries, Russia is "open to a dialogue that is aimed not at chattering and not at thinking up pretexts for inaction, but at the practical implementation of the Minsk agreements," he said.

"I have no doubt that Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko does not want and will not do this. When Viktor Volodymyrovych Medvedchuk merely proposed serious discussion of what autonomous rights could be granted to Donbas, he was called a traitor. Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko said that this would never happen, even though he himself subscribed to the special status for Donbas, as is set out fairly in detail in the Minsk agreements," Lavrov said.

These could be extended in the future to stipulate, "for example, providing OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] observers with an armed UN guard, as we, by the way, proposed in response to the concerns of the same Ukrainians about the observers' safety. But in their essence these agreements should remain intact. The main thing in them is that issues are being resolved directly between Kyiv, Donetsk and Luhansk," Lavrov said.