Interview of Russian Foreign Minister S. V. Lavrov to Bloomberg TV Channel, Moscow, May 14, 2014
Question: I want to start with the question of the negotiations taking place these days in Kiev. Do you think they have a chance of success? Lavrov: Honestly, I have not yet seen the details of these negotiations. As I understand, these talks are the result of pressure exerted on the authorities in Kiev by the OSCE in accordance with the Geneva Statement of 17 of April of this year, calling for an inclusive national dialogue involving all political groups and regions of Ukraine. I do not know what is the composition of the round table, which, as I understand it, was not sufficiently announced in Kiev. We are convinced that for the success of such a national dialogue it is absolutely necessary to ensure equal participation in it of all regions of Ukraine - not only the South and the East, but also the West, where there are also problems with the self-determination of minorities who want respect for their rights, cultural autonomy, as was proclaimed in a statement by the Prime Minister of Hungary V. Orban. Inclusion is the key to this task. Any step towards national dialogue is welcome. Question: As I understand it, the central authorities of Ukraine welcome everyone who does not have “blood on their hands” at the talks. Is this the right approach? Should separatists take place at the negotiating table? Lavrov: Who should assess the presence of “blood on the hands”? This is an absolutely rhetorical statement. As we saw in the case of the Syrian conflict, the West declared that, on the part of the government, everyone who does not have “blood on their hands” can take part in the negotiations. And how to qualify these people? Will the current coalition members comply with this requirement? They were directly involved in the events on the Independence Square in February of this year: the current secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, A. Parubiy, was seen carrying a sniper rifle in his hands, which he took out of his car, etc. Either we are talking about national reconciliation, or “the winner gets everything” and determines who to talk to. Question: You are clearly dissatisfied with the current situation in the light of how the diplomatic process is progressing. What conditions for reaching an agreement would be acceptable for Russia? Lavrov: In general, this is the Geneva Statement of 17 of April of this year, the text of which begins with the rejection of the use of force and violence. And we are talking about all sides, not only about the South and the East, as US Undersecretary of State V. Nuland tried to present after our meeting in Geneva (as if the adopted statement concerns only the Southeast). This is a distortion. The absence of violence in the first place implies the termination of this "counter-terrorist" operation. You can not invite people to sit at the negotiating table, while continuing to fire them with artillery fire, from armored vehicles, fighters, helicopters. Of course, we want to understand why the helicopters with UN symbols were used against the protesters in the South and East. The UN has already expressed deep concern about this. My position is that if there is a desire to promote a national dialogue, this is not done at the same time as the suppression of demonstrators who disagree with your government. Question: So no violence. Lavrov: As I said, this should be the goal, the subject and the result of a national dialogue. Question: Will Ukraine’s accession to the EU be acceptable for Russia? Lavrov: The question of joining should be decided by the Ukrainians themselves. But if they choose this path, they must understand what the consequences will be for their obligations under the economic agreements within the CIS. It was Ukraine that insisted on signing the Free Trade Agreement within the CIS. President V.A. Yushchenko was the initiator of this process, and ultimately all CIS member countries, including Russia, reluctantly (as this entailed economic losses) agreed, and now there is a free trade zone in the CIS. Ukraine needs to align these economic obligations with those to which they want to join, if at all. Question: Is it acceptable for Russia to accept Ukraine as a member of NATO? Lavrov: This will already be a question not only of Ukraine and NATO, but also of Russia, since we have entered into an agreement with the members of the Alliance, which initially spoke of non-expansion of NATO. Then, as it expanded, in spite of obligations, it was about the non-deployment of significant military forces in the territories of new members, the non-deployment of military infrastructure near the Russian borders. All of these obligations were to some extent violated. Attempts to include Ukraine in NATO will have an extremely negative impact on the entire system of European security, and we will strongly oppose this. I have nothing to hide. Good that you raised this question. In my opinion, it all started much earlier - back in the 1990s, when NATO, despite all the allegations that the cold war was over and there should be no winners, still found itself victorious. In practical terms, the seeds of the current crisis were sown in April 2008 during the NATO summit in Bucharest, when in their declaration the leaders of the NATO member countries declared that Georgia and Ukraine would become members of the Alliance. A few months later, President M. Saakashvili, who, given his character, took it very emotionally and decided that he obtained a license to attack his own people and resolve the conflict in North Ossetia by force. He was certainly motivated by a promise from NATO. By the way, as it is happening in Ukraine now, M. Saakashvili soon after what he did began to destroy monuments to the heroes of the Second World War. The threat of neo-fascism is clearly visible in the context of the invitation to NATO and the policies of those who believe that Ukraine should join the Alliance. Question: In fact, the problem is that you see the threat of interference from the West into the territory, which Russia perceives as its “backyard”. Lavrov: Not at all. This is not our backyard. Kiev is the mother of Russian cities. Russian language and religion - Orthodox Christianity - were born on the territory of present-day Ukraine. We do not perceive each other as foreigners. Latin America, where the term "backyard" came from, differs from the territory of North America, its traditions, culture. We were one nation for 300 years and even more - more than 1000 years ago, the Slavs brought their religion. It’s completely impossible to exclude these psychological, historical and related feelings. Question: You raised an interesting question. Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin mentioned the term Novorossia, an empirical term that refers to a part of present-day Ukraine. Does Russia have the right to claim Ukraine for the fact that it was part of the Russian Empire? Lavrov: He said "Novorossiya" is a medieval term, like "Little Russia", for example. When you ask people in Europe where they come from, and in response you hear that from South Tyrol, do you feel some imperial overtones in this answer? This is a historical term. Question: But also President Vladimir Putin said that God alone knows why the Soviet authorities gave parts of eastern Ukraine, which were Russia, to Ukraine. Lavrov: This is a statement of fact. Question: But this is exactly what V.Putin said about N.S. Khrushchev, who gave Crimea to Ukraine in 1964. Is this another justification, historical rationalization for seizing lands in the east of the country? Lavrov: Not at all. This is a statement of fact. God alone knows why the Soviet authorities scribbled administrative borders within the USSR that way. When the General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union came from Ukraine, such as N.S. Khrushchev or L.I. Brezhnev, they shuffled these territories, since no one even in the worst nightmares could imagine that the USSR would cease to exist. But in the end, when the USSR collapsed, there was no intention to return what was given to Ukraine or other republics that were part of the Soviet Union. Moreover, several years ago we signed the Treaty between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on the state border and began the process of demarcating the Russian-Ukrainian border, without even thinking about such a result. Crimean residents have rebelled against what is happening, and they have been pushed to this only by the events of the past few months: the fact that the current regime, with the support of the US and the EU, came to power, relying on neo-Nazis, extremists who are trying to use force to impose their rules and anti-Russian policy , denying rights to ethnic Russian and Russian-speaking population in Ukraine. Question: Fair. Lavrov: According to our foreign policy doctrine, we must demarcate borders with all the republics of the former USSR, and we were in the process of this work with Ukraine, when an illegitimate armed overthrow of power occurred. Question: Can Russia guarantee the world that the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine will not be annexed? Lavrov: You should understand what I am saying. This is a very simplistic approach. Can the West ensure that the rights of the Russian-speaking population, ethnic Russians, Hungarians, Romanians, Poles and other minorities living in Ukraine are protected? Can someone promise us that the current coalition will not include neo-Nazis in its membership, as is happening now? The Svoboda Party was elected to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in December 2012. At that time, the EU protested. As in the case of the elections of J. Haider in Austria, they stated that no one in Ukraine should cooperate with the Freedom party. Now this party and its representatives are a member of the coalition, supported by the West and promote anti-Russian and anti-Semitic statements publicly in parliament. The representative of this party, I.Fahrion, who is responsible for the reform of education, applauded what happened in Odessa. I believe that we should start not with far-fetched pathetic questions about whether someone will intrude somewhere, but how people will feel in any country in the world. Question: As I understand it, you cannot guarantee territories outside the Russian Federation, but being part of the USSR, that they will remain outside Russia? For example, Transnistria. Lavrov: Regarding Transnistria, we clearly stated that we are in favor of a settlement that respects the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Moldova with the condition that it maintains its neutrality enshrined in its Constitution, and Chisinau and Tiraspol will come to an agreement on the special status of Transnistria. In Ukraine, I can give one very straightforward and characteristic example, which I did not want to make public, but I do not think this is a secret. After resolving the situation in Crimea as it happened, after the referendum, when we had no other way than to fully respond to the request of the Crimean people, when an overwhelming majority expressed a desire to reunite with Russia, Moscow received an initiative to organize a certain group support for Ukraine, consisting of Russia, the United States and the EU, to help Ukrainians begin a national dialogue. We outlined our view on how this dialogue should be conducted: decentralization, federalization, limited autonomy, whatever you like to call it, but the main thing here is content. The result of the reform should be some kind of solution that suits all regions. Russian language must be respected. Then proclaimed the neutral status of Ukraine from the military-political point of view. All of this we have listed. The proposals that were handed over to our American and European colleagues also said that the reform of the Ukrainian state, which should be sovereign, territorially integral and respected by all, will be guaranteed by Russia, the EU, the US, the UN Security Council. Unfortunately, we have not received any response to our proposal. Unlike the Russian position that the constitutional process should be inclusive and respected in all regions, the steps taken by our Western partners, especially the US and the EU, show that their main goal is not to achieve a national truce in Ukraine, and in legitimizing the regime that they themselves brought to power, on terms that were convenient for them, and imposing it on the whole country. Question: The tragic events in Odessa, yesterday's murder of seven Ukrainian soldiers in the east of the country. How do you think, how close is Ukraine to civil war? Lavrov: Add to this a significant number of militiamen who were killed in the last 24 hours from mortars, from helicopters in Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, Krasnoarmeysk. As I understand it, when Ukrainians kill Ukrainians is as close to a civil war as possible in principle. There are unmarked people in black uniforms - some claim that they are from the “Right Sector”. Surely it is. There were reports of a couple of hundreds or even more mercenaries, as well as information about Greystoun and the Academy, the former American private military company Blackwater, replicated in the German media. I ordered our ambassador in Washington to receive a response from the American side regarding the statements of the German media. Such rumors spread earlier, but US Secretary of State J. Kerry refuted them. Now they have appeared again, and we would like to check them. We also inquired about the attitude of the US to the telephone talks of the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, A. Avakov, with some of his interlocutors, who indirectly indicate that he could be involved in the attempt on the life of the mayor of Kharkov and was involved in inviting foreign fighters, translators, and the like to Ukraine. .d We are waiting for answers to questions posed. We have serious suspicions that this may be true. American and European colleagues tell us that Russia should not pretend that it is not in Ukraine and that there have been reports of Ukrainians detaining 10-12 Russian agents. We immediately responded - show them, show documents, photos, interviews. This has been going on for over a month now. None of the allegations was supported by evidence. On the other hand, the questions that we ask our Western partners remain unanswered. We have no choice but to consider these statements as bluffs. I have my own interesting point of view. During the last rounds of talks on Ukraine in Paris, Geneva, and anywhere else, I constantly invite my Western partners to jointly go to the press, but they are constantly evading. I do not know why. Question: Do you think Ukraine has a chance to hold legitimate 25 elections in May? Lavrov: I do not know we will see. Not for us to vote, but for the Ukrainian regions. A few weeks or months ago, Ukraine made changes to its electoral legislation, according to which voting can only be held in one region, and this will be enough. This is a very funny law when there is no minimum threshold for the number of voters. It all depends on whether they will elect a president in the context of an ongoing counter-terrorist operation. However, I do not think that people in the south and east of Ukraine will come to the polls. Question: Most of the country's population will come to elections that will be held under the supervision of the OSCE. Is this not enough for Russia? Lavrov: This should be enough for Ukrainians. This should be legitimate from the point of view of Ukrainians. We know how experienced OSCE representatives are, how creative they can be. We did not send Russians to the OSCE mission, which will monitor the elections, because we have a lot of questions. But as Russian President Vladimir Putin said, any election is a movement in the right direction. We will judge these elections by their results. Question: It seems that you do not recognize them even before? Lavrov: This is not true. I repeat that this is a movement in the right direction. Some say that the referendum held in the Crimea is not legitimate, because it was held at gunpoint. But not a single shot was made. In the east of Ukraine there is a real war using heavy weapons. And if this is exactly what contributes to the holding of free and fair elections, then I don’t understand something about freedom and justice. Question: You do not recognize the legitimacy of the current government? Lavrov: No. Question: You can not deal with him for the reason that it is not legally elected? Lavrov: We have to deal with him. Question: It's true. But can Russia conduct business more substantively and be more involved in the process after the election of a new president of Ukraine? Lavrov: We'll see how the elections will end, whether they will be held in conditions of continuing hostilities and attacks on protesters, with a gross violation of the position of the Geneva Declaration of April 17 and the February Agreement of 21. By the way, one of the first commitments of the current coalition under the February 21 agreement was the creation of a national unity government. The day after the signing of the Agreement, they stated that it is being canceled because VF Yanukovych was not in Kiev. VF Yanukovych was at that moment in Ukraine. This is an important point. But if they say that since V.F. Yanukovych was not in Kiev, then they are in no way bound by this obligation to create a government of national unity, then I have a question: the obligation to create such a government was made only for President V.F. Yanukovych or for the whole country and the people? Together they created a so-called. "Coalition of winners". Yatsenyuk went to the Maidan to boast that they are now the government of the winners and asked the "Maidan people" to support them in this capacity. What they did. Question: In your opinion, can the presidential elections in Ukraine and the possible creation of a new government facilitate the search for diplomatic ways to resolve the crisis? Lavrov: If any figure appears that will be supported by the majority of the population of Ukraine, it will naturally be easier to do business with such a partner than with someone who has appointed himself. Question: Now the favorite of the Ukrainian election campaign is P. Poroshenko. If he wins the election, are you ready to work with him? Lavrov: I know him well. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs, then, if I am not mistaken, Minister of Economics of Ukraine, he held other posts in the Ukrainian structures. An interesting thing: he said that immediately after the presidential election, he will begin to carry out reforms. I think that by the end of the year parliamentary elections will take place. This has not yet been announced, but is under discussion. The February 21 agreement was quite logical: the national unity government should prepare a constitutional reform, then a constitution should be adopted and a presidential election based on it. Now they will elect a president until the end of the constitutional reform. And people who come to the polls will not know what powers they impose on the victor or the victor. This is somewhat ambiguous and illogical. However, our Western partners a priori believe that these are free and fair elections. I would prefer to express my opinion after the elections. Question: I would like to understand whether P. Poroshenko is the person with whom you could work together? Russia has repeatedly called the current Kiev government a fascist, as there are fascists in it. P. Poroshenko - a fascist? Lavrov: Not all government. For example, the Svoboda party, whose leaders have repeatedly stated the need to liberate Ukraine from Moscovites and Jews, and who, based on the platform of the party, reaffirmed their commitment to the June 30 declaration from 1941, promising to support the new Hitler order in Europe. They are part of a coalition that is openly supported by Western countries. Question: P. Poroshenko is not a fascist? Lavrov: No, he is not a member of this party and not a fascist. Question: If P. Poroshenko becomes president of Ukraine, will you deal with him? Lavrov: I met him a few months ago at the Munich Security Policy Conference. We can deal with anyone. The speaker of the Russian parliament, who is also the president of the parliamentary assembly of the CIS countries, sent invitations to the heads of parliaments of the Commonwealth countries. Ukraine is a member of this organization. Thus, A.Turchinov, as the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, was invited to St. Petersburg at the CIS Parliamentary Assembly. He decided not to come. That was his decision. A. Yatsenyuk talked a couple of times with the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, Dmitry A. Medvedev. I met several times with A. Deschitsa, appointed by the Verkhovna Rada and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs. As you should know, the energy ministers of Russia and Ukraine discussed issues related to the theft of Russian gas. We are in contact. Question: We turn to the sanctions. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the use of sanctions against Russia is ineffective. There is a fear that sanctions similar to those applied to Iran will be applied to Russia. Most agree that such sanctions were effective in Iran in achieving political goals there. Why would such sanctions be ineffective against Russia? Lavrov: I would not speak in this case about the Iranian sanctions, because the ones you have in mind are one-sided, i.e. illegal in terms of international law. UN Security Council sanctions were not directed against the Iranian economy, but only against those industries that are involved in a nuclear program and are dual-use products. Financial sanctions in terms of using the SWIFT system, sanctions against industries not related to the sectors of the Iranian dual-use economy, such as oil and gas, are illegal, one-sided. We do not recognize them. I do not think that economic sanctions can be seriously considered from the point of view of the responsibility of Western countries in the international economic system. As far as I understand, the discussions are based on the desire for revenge, which is always very bad and unprofessional from the point of view of those who want to be involved in a serious political process. This will no doubt have an effect. I think that if Western countries stop dollar transfers for Russian banks and companies, this, of course, will create certain difficulties. But there will just be system replacements. VISA and MASTERCARD payment systems understand that they will lose the market, they are already losing it. I will not go into these details. People invent new systems. These are virtual money and virtual money transfers. Everything that is virtual, especially today, can be “repeated” in Russia and other countries. Many experts know how it works. I believe that if Western countries are ready to sacrifice their reputation as a reliable partner for the entire world economy and financial system solely for reasons of revenge, if the US is willing to sacrifice its reputation as a key holder of reserve currencies, then it is up to them. Everything in the world will think differently. If the next morning someone in Washington wakes up in a bad mood and decides to start a coup d'etat elsewhere — not in Ukraine, but in Latin America, as they believe, in their own backyard, people should be prepared for this situation . Question: If I understand you correctly, economic sanctions against Russia can to some extent be effective in undermining the Russian economy. Can the application of sanctions to Russia change its policy towards Ukraine? Lavrov: I repeat again. We will even more insistently demand free and fair reforms in Ukraine. We will even more insistently demand from Western countries to refuse support to the fascists and neo-Nazis, not to support the government, which includes neo-Nazi parties. I also wanted to be answered by Washington regarding the information about the secret visit of the Right Sector coordinator A. Artemenko to Washington to meet with V. Nuland. We would very much like to receive answers to these questions. It is very dangerous to seriously manipulate events in Europe from overseas - these are not radio-controlled games. For us, this is very serious. Question: In fact, we have not seen any repressive actions by Russia. Lavrov: We are polite people, as you know. Question: Do you intend to remain polite and not retaliate? Lavrov: You know Russia well - you have lived here for a long time. Help me translate into English the Russian proverb “The Russian man harnesses for a long time, but then he goes fast.” We are not looking for confrontation. We do not want to copy the chaotic actions of Washington, Brussels, and other capitals, most of which are forced. But if Western countries continue to pursue an absolutely non-professional hysterical policy, we will be forced to think about the answer. The problem is that they tell us: "If you do not change your policy, we will cause you even more damage." They believe that they have already hurt us. My question is: what changes do you need? There is no answer to this. A couple of months ago, they said that we should not “invade” Ukraine. We did not intend and we are not going to invade there. Then the Western partners said: “Well, you must stop sending your operatives and special forces to Eastern and Southern Ukraine.” We replied that they were not there. This was publicly declared by V.Putin. I have already said that we were informed that the Ukrainians had arrested someone. If so, present them. Then the partners said that we should have called for the cancellation of the 11 May referendum. Vladimir Putin said that it’s up to the people of Ukraine to decide, but we are convinced that, given the OSCE’s intention to start a dialogue, it would be useful to postpone the referendum. Now we are told that if the May 25 elections are not held for any reason, Russia will be to blame. Isn't that funny? Question: Many Russian politicians believe that the real goal of the United States is not to change Russia's policy towards Ukraine, but to overthrow President Vladimir Putin. Don't you think so? Lavrov: The real goal of the United States is not to allow the Europeans to act and decide in their own way, not to allow NATO to lose the goals of their existence and keep Europe on a short leash. Question: Let's go back to the sanctions and the event that happened last week. The French government has decided to fulfill its obligations for the supply of Mistral ships in excess of 1 billion euros. Does this mean that France will continue to fulfill the contract? Lavrov: This suggests that France currently takes its contractual obligations more seriously than the Ukrainian government. Question: Because Ukraine does not pay for gas? Does this mean that Europe has split over the idea of sanctions against Russia or does it have no desire to expand them? Lavrov: I know that many, if not most European countries, have no desire to confront with Russia, especially the economic confrontation. We are not going to violate any contractual obligation either with Europe or with anyone else. I believe that serious politicians and businessmen should behave this way. Question: Do you think that the West has a desire to help Ukraine out of the crisis? Lavrov: They are already receiving signals that people are beginning to feel tired of these completely useless childish attempts to turn a serious crisis into something that has nothing to do with the future of Ukraine, but related to the perception of the authorities by their electorate and how they are perceived by those who try to dictate politics from washington. This fatigue is felt very strongly. When Western ambassadors around the world are instructed to go to the foreign ministry of the host country and say, “I heard that you are planning to visit Moscow, do not do this. Postpone visit. This is not the time, ”this is not serious. Then, through the same channels, messages are transmitted not to attend Russian commemorative events dedicated to Victory Day. It’s not even worth explaining what it means for a Russian person. I respect the decision of almost all European Union ambassadors to attend and attend the 9 ceremony in May in Moscow. Unfortunately, the EU ambassador was not present. It was a political gesture, and I'm sorry. Question: Ukrainians believe that Russia is leading a war against them. Is it true? Lavrov: As I have repeatedly told you, we asked them to submit at least one proof. They continue to say that several of our people were arrested. Please submit them, present their documents, show their faces. If you have arrested Russian spies, operatives or special forces, show them. This is the problem. When the Ukrainian authorities and representatives of the West say that Russia should change its policy, I ask the question: what exactly do you want us to change? Question: One point of what they ask you can do is to condemn the use of violence by the separatists in accordance with the Geneva Accords you mentioned. Lavrov: We condemn it every day. Question: When was the last time the Kremlin declared that the militia should stop the use of violence in the east of Ukraine? Lavrov: The President of the Russian Federation, V.Putin, spoke on this issue on May 7 at a press conference in the Kremlin with Swiss President D. Burkhalter. The problem is that we are told to condemn violence, and the government has a monopoly on the use of force. And the European Union made decisions (as they call documents at the level of the Minister of Foreign Affairs) and stated that it supports and encourages the Ukrainian authorities to continue to use force responsibly and proportionately. If they describe what is happening in the east and south of Ukraine, then this is complete disrespect for the people of this country and European politicians. You need to be aware of what is happening. Of course, they do not watch Russian television and do not want to question a very optimistic picture of what is happening in Ukraine and Kiev’s policies. But this is unprofessional. Perhaps this is an attempt to earn points before the elections to the European Parliament, which will be held on 25 in May. Unfortunately, some Russophobes are trying to play a leading role in the EU. Europe acts on the basis of what it should never agree with: conniving at neo-Nazism reviving in a very important European country. Question: During the events in Crimea, we asked the Russian president whether there are Russian troops on the peninsula. He strongly denied this. Lavrov: In addition to naval base personnel fleet. Question: Right. Then, during the "straight line", he said that in fact the Russian troops in the Crimea were, as he put it, they were standing behind the backs of pro-Russian Russian activists. In fact, the troops in the Crimea were still? Lavrov: As I just told you, from the Navy base. President Vladimir Putin has never denied that the Russian naval base is located in the Crimea. Question: The interpretation of this statement says that in fact in the Crimea there were Russian troops involved in the events in addition to those belonging to the Navy base. Lavrov: I'm trying to answer your question. The Russian-Ukrainian agreement in force at that time permitted the deployment of up to 25 thousands of personnel on the basis of the Black Sea Fleet. At the time of the crisis, there were about 16-17 thousand people at the base. Russia increased the number of personnel in connection with the crisis, but the number of military men was within the maximum of 25 thousand people. We never denied it. These people moved between several units belonging to the fleet base. At the crucial moment, when preparations for the referendum were being carried out, they stood behind the militia and self-defense units. Question: The central government considers the referendum illegal. Lavrov: What is the central government? Question: The central government in Kiev, which continues to argue that a referendum in the Crimea, supported by Russian troops, is illegal. Lavrov: The reason for this referendum was that the people rebelled against the illegal armed coup in Kiev, against the people who organized it with the support of the United States and the European Union, who called themselves the “government of winners”. The very first step of this government was the adoption of a law abolishing the rights to regional languages. They did not sign it as a law, but voted against the Russian language publicly and publicly, which was immediately heard in the Crimea. The people rebelled against the attempt of the armed Right-Sector fanatics to infiltrate the Crimea and occupy buildings. All this is posted online, you can follow the sequence. Question : After 25 in May, if Russia does not recognize the elections, can we expect another appearance of Russian troops to support pro-Russian activists in Donetsk, Lugansk, where referendums were held? Or at other points? Will we see Russian troops in Eastern Ukraine tomorrow? Lavrov: Regarding the phrase "pro-Russian activists." People in Donetsk and Lugansk do not want to be called “pro-Russian” or “pro-American”, they want to be citizens of Ukraine. Question: These people held a referendum, declared themselves an independent state and said that they want to join Russia. Lavrov: If you expect that you will be treated as equals, and you are treated at best as dirt or ignored altogether, as the authorities in Kiev did during two or three months after the coup, in this case I understand the people who They want to draw attention to their problems. The army was directed against them. In this situation, these people wanted to take their fate in their own hands. Therefore, we respect the results of this referendum, and we have no intention to send any troops anywhere.
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