Federal agreement is only way to reach Ukraine settlement – Lavrov
"We are certain that Ukraine needs profound constitutional reform. In all fairness, we can’t see any other way to ensure the stable development of Ukraine but to sign a federal agreement", Lavrov said.
"Some may know better and are, perhaps, capable of finding some magic spell to ensure living in a unitary state, with people in the West, on the one hand, and the South-East, on the other, celebrating different holidays, honouring different heroes, developing different types of economy, speaking different languages, thinking differently and gravitating towards different European civilised cultures but I think it’s pretty difficult to live in a unitary state like that", Lavrov said.
"We suggested that things be put right in all areas at once, the more so since an obligation to that end was signed by Vitaly Klitshcko, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Oleg Tyagnibok, and the Foreign Ministers of Germany, France and Poland. We further suggested that a constitutional reform be launched at once, one that would prove comprehensive and involve every single political force and region, with equal voting rights. We suggested that they start negotiating a federation that would grant each region sweeping powers in the fields of economy, finance, culture, language, and education, as well as external economic and cultural ties with neighbouring countries or regions, where all minority rights would be ensured", Foreign Minister Lavrov said.
"Given the share of the indigenous Russian population, we are certain that there is no other way to reach a settlement, the more so since some presidential candidates in Ukraine have repeatedly suggested that Russian should be made a second official language and that each of the federation’s territorial entities should guarantee the rights of minority languages, in keeping with the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages", Lavrov said.
Russia’s topmost diplomat pointed out that a constitutional reform should be approved by a referendum and should reflect the interests of all regions, the interests that should be mutually agreed on, so that once the constitutional reform is approved by a plebiscite, presidential and parliamentary elections could be held, as well as the elections of regional legislatures, executive authorities and governors, so that these are elected, rather than appointed".
The West is no longer dismissing Russia's arguments that Ukraine should become a federation through constitutional reform, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"I can say that 'federation' is no longer a taboo word in our negotiations. I am sure we should insist on this, not just because we want it but because this is a demand by the southern and eastern regions [of Ukraine]," Lavrov said.
The West has taken heed of Moscow's arguments in favor of Ukraine's federalization and a second official language, and Russia expects that Kiev will be informed of these ideas through Western partners, Lavrov said.
"This is actually the only thing I hope for, because the current Ukrainian government can hardly be suspected of independence," Lavrov said sarcastically.
While covering the events in Ukraine, Western media conceal various facts about the Right Sector, says Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov. He noted that for more than a month he had posed a question about the Right Sector and the need to create distance between radicals and Western partners.
"I was very surprised that, in those days when our television, including your channel, showed the siege of the Verkhovna Rada and explicitly commented, what was going on between the Right Sector and representatives of the Ukrainian Parliament, what all this may lead to, at that same time Euronews said not a word about it, and Ukraine only appeared as the third or fourth item in the context of an IMF loan offered to it," the Minister said in an interview with the News on Saturday program on Russia's 1TV-channel.
Touching upon information that, the authorities in Kiev have lately "set about" the Right Sector, the Minister stressed: "It took them too much time. Better late than never - and this is certainly so".
"I asked a very simple question: If you agree that it is necessary to normalize the situation, why can't you publicly say, what the Right Sector really represents? In general, it also concerns the Svoboda (Freedom) party, which policy document contains a reference to the Declaration of June 30, 1941, proclaiming support for Nazi German activity aimed at establishing a new world order. According to its organizational documents, it is still a principle, to which this party is committed," the head Foreign Ministry noted.
According to Lavrov, the Russian request, at least to "publicly state their attitudes to these characters and induce those, who proclaimed themselves the new authority in Kiev, to speak on this subject", brought about rather strange answers.
"At first, our colleagues avoided reaction, then, during one of the recent meetings, I think, in London, US Secretary of State John Kerry told me that they had examined the whole background, and believed that the Right Sector was trying to turn into a political movement. The subtext was that it was good: the Svoboda was moving towards the mainstream. This is a quotation. The meeting was attended by many people, so I betray no one's secrets," the Minister said. Lavrov drew attention to the fact that he had given examples of what was happening to these associations. "Beginning with public statements against Russians, whom it is proposed to shoot in the head, to kill, whom they subjugate, and ending with the application of physical force that's even occuring in Eastern Ukraine, where members of these groups feel at home. If we are to talk of what has happened lately, let's hope, all these statements and actions by the government are the result of some educational work, which our Western partners conducted among them. I repeat, better late than never".
The Minister urged all parties to see "what happens, and whether it is possible to cope with those, on whom the new authorities relied in order to occupy their current posts".
West's calls on Russia to change position on Crimea are "diplomatic impudence"
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sees the West's demand that Moscow change its position regarding Crimea's reintegration with Russia as absolutely hopeless.
"You may substantially disagree with the way we see the situation, and you may not accept the Russian Federation's decisions that were made in response to Crimean will and were supported by an astounding majority of the population. We understand this position, life is life," Lavrov said in an interview shown in an analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov on the Rossiya-1 TV channel on Saturday.
"But not understanding real politics and absolute hopelessness of demands addressed to us at the moment when we said that we would accept any decision by the Crimeans after they express their will and telling us: 'Okay, despite what the president said, let's put down that a mission will go to Ukraine including Crimea' - this is diplomatic impudence or absolute diplomatic inadequacy," he said.
Russia holding talks with countries for ships could use ports for minor maintenance
Russia is holding negotiations with several countries to enable Russian ships to call at their ports for servicing and minor maintenance, but Russia is not considering the establishment of new naval bases abroad, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We are holding negotiations with some countries that our ships and naval vessels could use their infrastructure for calling at their ports, servicing, minor maintenance, replenishing food and water stocks, and crew rest. There is absolutely no talk about building bases similar to the American ones," Lavrov said in an interview shown on an analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Saturday.
Russia's, West's approaches toward settling Ukraine crisis converging
Interaction between Moscow, Western countries and Kiev to settle the crisis in Ukraine is becoming more tangible, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Anyway, we are bringing our approaches closer together. My last meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in The Hague and my contacts with Germany, France and some other countries show that a possible joint initiative that could be offered to our Ukrainian partners is taking shape," Lavrov said in an interview shown in an analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Saturday.
"This is a very important detail, because our partners have so far proposed setting up some contact group in which Russia and those who have seized power in Kiev would negotiate under their supervision. This would be an absolutely unacceptable format, and we are not talking about this," he said.
Russia has no plans to create mil bases abroad like those of US
Russia has no plans to create naval and military bases abroad like American facilities, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview on Saturday News with Sergei Brilyov on Russian television.
Commenting on reports that Russia allegedly planned to open bases on the Seashells, in Vietnam, Nicaragua, Cuba and Argentina, Lavrov said "It is not true at all. We have no plans to create naval and military bases abroad in the meaning you understand the term."
"The Navy has strengthened significantly in Russia, and I think, after the joining of Crimea to Russia, it will have much more potentialities for development," he noted. Aside from the Black Sea Fleet, we have the Far Eastern, Northern and other fleets," he said. "It is very important for the state to have the navy on the highest level of training, especially when the fleet has not only to cross oceans for training, but carry out specific tasks to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Pirates appear in other parts of the world ocean. The fleet makes long trips."
"We have agreed with some countries for our vessels and naval ships to use their existing infrastructure for calls, service, minor repair, replenishment of food and water reserves and rest of crews," Lavrov explained. “Construction of bases like American ones is out of the question. Any agreements like those concluded by Americans to ensure immunity for their servicemen from crimes in the country of their presence are also out of the question," he noted.
"By the way, I saw an interesting picture in the Internet the Russian Federation and red dots indicating locations of American military bases around it," he said. "It is impressive. They number more than a hundred. And an American serviceman phrase there 'How does Russia dare to settle so close to our bases?'."
In reply to the question whether the mentioned countries were among those to negotiate with about calls of ships, Lavrov said “There are several such countries, but these are issues to be considered by military departments.
Russia has no plans to cross Ukraine's borders, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"We have absolutely no intention of and interest in crossing Ukraine's borders. The only thing we really want is that the work should be collective and the lawlessness that some Western countries are trying to sweep under the rug and paint the situation in bright colors should be stopped, so that they realize their responsibility," Lavrov said in an interview shown in an analytical program hosted by Sergei Brilyov on Rossiya-1 TV channel on Saturday.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA