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US Secretary of State John Kerry

Kerry: Poroshenko Should 'Think Twice' Before Using Force in Donbass

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Following an extensive six hour discussion between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and President Putin, Kerry stressed that any Ukrainian efforts to seize the Donetsk Airport through force would violate the Minsk Protocol and would face strict opposition from Washington.

On Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko vowed to retake Donetsk Airport by whatever means necessary, despite the fact that doing so would directly violate the Minsk deal to move heavy weapons away from the demarcation line.

"I have no doubt,” Poroshenko said during the premier of the documentary "Airport," "we will free the airport, because it is our land. And we will rebuild the airport."

It’s not the first time Poroshenko has used aggressive rhetoric. Last month, he also insisted that peace in Ukraine would only come with strict preconditions.

"The war will end when Ukraine regains Donbass and Crimea," he said in an interview with the STB television channel.

When confronted with Poroshenko’s plans during Tuesday’s news conference, US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed that any such action would violate the peace talks and would get no endorsement from Washington.

This fell in line with a general consensus agreed upon during the talks. Both the United States and Russia agreed that upholding the Minsk agreement is the only sure way to peace in the Ukraine.

"What is important is to make sure that both sides are moving forward in implementing the Minsk accord in its full measure," Kerry said, adding that he had urged President Poroshenko to honor the ceasefire.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to that goal, adding that Moscow and Washington will be using complementary influences and "will not be knocking on the same doors."

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"There are diplomatic mechanisms and we are exploring all of them," Lavrov said.

In addition to the Ukrainian crisis, the talks focused on a wide range of global issues, and while both sides still face differences in opinion, the two nations see eye to eye on a number of topics.

On the issue of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations with Iran, both sides are in agreement. Kerry stressed that “unity” has been key throughout the talks and will be instrumental moving forward in the final six weeks before the final deadline.

Both nations also agreed on the significant threat posed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group, and recognized the role of Syria’s destabilization in the group’s emergence. Both sides recognized that bringing a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict is crucial.

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
U.S Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

"A key task to resolve issues is to have dialogue between all Syrian parties," Lavrov said, adding that "all stakeholders must urge them to abide by the Geneva Communique."

Lavrov also stressed that he did not want chemical weapons to be a pretext for Western nations to pressure the Assad regime, and thorough investigations into the alleged use of such weapons should be conducted.

"We want the conscientious, professional investigation to be conducted, as well as the professional fact-finding, so that there would be no attempts to use the chemical weapons issue to apply political pressure, or as a justification of attempts to use force against Syria," Lavrov said.

 

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U.S. Department of State, meeting, official visit, Russian Foreign Ministry, Sochi, Russia
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