MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Amid the ongoing difficulties in the internal situation in Ukraine, particularly with the lack of peace in the southeast (Donbass), it is crucial that Kiev refrain from trying to change the results of the Minsk talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
"The sooner the Kiev authorities realize the necessity of implementing their responsibilities under Minsk 2 [peace deal], first of all, the political part – providing Donbass with a special status, holding local elections in the region, giving amnesty and constitutional reforms – the sooner we will be able to witness the full implementation of the ‘complex of measures,’" Lavrov told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
He stressed that what’s at sake is "classic" European values, such as local residents having the right to self-governance, self-expression and education in their native tongue and living in accordance with their traditions.
"Claims regarding the presence of Russian heavy arms in the southeast of Ukraine that need to be withdrawn are science fiction," Lavrov said in an interview with the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
He added that the monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) have never presented in their reports any factual evidence of alleged Russian troops presence or the alleged delivery or presence of Russian weaponry in Ukraine’s Donetsk or Lugansk regions.
"The sides in the conflict are fighting with the weaponry that has been left in Ukraine since the collapse of the USSR. Kiev, apart from all else, is trying to compensate its losses with arms supplies, including lethal, from NATO countries," Lavrov said.