Lavrov "doesn't understand" why Kyiv continues ATO
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday he "does not understand" the reasons Kyiv continues its military operation in eastern Ukraine against the self-proclaimed militant republics, according to Ukraine Today.
"I'll be honest, I don't understand why the so-called anti-terrorist operation is still going on in Ukraine and the leaders of the self-proclaimed republics are called terrorists and separatists," Lavrov said, according to Russian media agencies, Ukraine Today reported Saturday.
His statement arrived as Kyiv says militants continue to attack the positions of the Ukrainian troops.
Read alsoUkraine should watch out for Russian retaliation over missile drills - analystKyiv has stated numerous times that it will only accept reintegration of the Donbas region through local election, which means that the so-called republics must cease to exist and Russia must stop controlling them through military, financial and political means.
"The Donetsk and Luhansk leaders signed the Minsk agreements. They did it because Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko insisted, and now they are told they are not legitimate, can't take part in election and must go," Russia's FM continued.
Read alsoKlimkin calls "alternatives" to Minsk pactLavrov reiterated the fact that Minsk remains the only way out of the Donbas conflict.
"Since February 2015, the Normandy Four and the contact group have tried to convince Ukraine to fulfill its commitments," he said.
Ukraine, in turn, declared there would not be a step forward toward the fulfillment of the political part of the Minsk deal as long as the Russian-backed forces kept shelling the government troops.