Ukraine Has Key to Better Russia-EU Relations

Ukraine Has Key to Better Russia-EU RelationsUkraine Has Key to Better Russia-EU Relations

Relations between Russia and the EU depend on the implementation of Minsk documents, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said on Monday. By "blocking" the agreements, Kiev prevents the "normalization" of the relations, he said.

"The Minsk agreements are being blocked by Ukraine. Thus, Ukraine now holds the key to normalization of relations between Russia and the European Union," Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the head of Rossiya Segodnya news agency, Dmitry Kiselyov, RT  reported on Monday.

With the EU leaders having failed to agree on automatically extending Russian sanctions or exerting more pressure on Moscow as long as the ceasefire is holding, Europe's decision to link its policy towards Russia to the implementation of the Minsk agreements is being used by Kiev, Lavrov said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s attempts to have foreign troops deployed in eastern Ukraine as a peacekeeping mission might be a "tactical loophole," Russia's top diplomat said.

Sometimes, when one side needs to buy time, a new idea is being thrown in only to distract the attention from the main issue and shift the progress, Lavrov explained, adding that he hoped the idea of European peacekeepers in Ukraine is not yet another example of such trick.

Moscow has previously criticized Kiev's unilateral invitation of a police force under the aegis of the EU into eastern Ukraine, saying the move undermined the Minsk ceasefire agreement because it wasn’t agreed by the rebel forces.

Russia is ready to hear Kiev's proposals on the matter - if representatives of the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk are being involved in discussion, but Ukraine should be able to explain why such mission could be more effective than the already operating OSCE monitors, the minister said at a press conference on Monday.

"There is a progress on keeping the ceasefire," Lavrov said, adding that still there are areas where the agreements have not been fully implemented. The area of the Donetsk Airport is being shelled by Kiev forces, the minister said, citing OSCE reports.

The so-called Normandy Four will monitor the implementation of the Minsk documents, according to Lavrov, who said that the group's ministers - including Russian, German, French and Ukrainian representatives, have agreed to meet for discussions on the progress.