Updated 2:27 p.m. Moscow Time
SOCHI, October 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday that all parties concerned should focus on implementation of Ukrainian peace plan rather than on making “useless” predictions about when the crisis will end.
“I think that [discussions on when the crisis in Ukraine will end] are useless, what really is important is to concentrate on what has already been done, namely on the Minsk agreements and their implementation,” Lavrov said on the sidelines of the Valdai discussion forum.
“The fulfillment [of the Minsk agreements] is not going smoothly, exchange of fire continues. Unfortunately, the Kiev government continues to use heavy weaponry and destroy economic and social infrastructure in southeastern Ukraine,” he went on.
“Now it is extremely important not to let the buffer zone agreement to derail, it will allow establishing a sustainable ceasefire,” the foreign minister said.
Russian senior officials repeatedly stressed the need for the fulfillment of the Minsk agreements stating that Moscow will continue to support the implementation of the Ukrainian peace plan. Earlier this week, Lavrov noted that the Minsk agreements have increased the likelihood of a political settlement of the Ukrainian conflict.
The military operation initiated by Kiev authorities in mid-April to suppress independence supporters in eastern Ukraine claimed the lives of 3,700 people and left over 8,800 injured.
On September 5, at a meeting in Minsk the conflicting sides with the mediation of Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) agreed on a ceasefire that came into force on the same day. On September 19, a memorandum stipulating the implementation of the truce was adopted during another round of the Contact Group talks in the Belarusian capital. Since then, both the Kiev forces and independence fighters have been accusing each other of violating the truce.