YEREVAN, June 23 (RIA Novosti) — Russia backs efforts by Ukraine to launch an all-inclusive national dialogue and will also complement the efforts, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
“We support the efforts that are currently being taken in order to start perhaps not the beginning of a direct dialogue, but a mediate one between the Kiev authorities and southeastern Ukraine. In the end I believe there will be the needed exit onto direct negotiations. It is during those negotiations that all of the parameters of Ukraine’s state structure should be agreed on,” Lavrov said during a press conference in the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
Lavrov added Russia is complementing these efforts with its own immediate and committed contribution, whereby “the priority task is saving the lives of the people, who are continuing to die, including Russian journalists.”
Earlier the same day, Lavrov reiterated the need for a sustainable ceasefire in the southeast of Ukraine, followed by a dialogue between the conflicting parties.
On June 20, Ukraine’s recently elected president, Petro Poroshenko, ordered a unilateral ceasefire between the government-backed forces and independence supporters in the east until June 27. Poroshenko also unveiled a peace plan to defuse the crisis in the country, promising amnesty for all independence defense forces not involved in grave crimes and willing to lay down their arms.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke out in favor of the peace plan unveiled by the Ukrainian leader, although Putin stressed that Poroshenko’s peace plan would not be realistic unless backed by practical efforts aimed at initiating a nationwide dialogue.