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Lavrov: Current Ukrainian government depends on radical nationalists

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March 8, 2014, 12:53 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

The current government in Kyiv is not independent, being heavily dependent on radical nationalists, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
© AFP

The current government in Kyiv is not independent, being heavily dependent on radical nationalists, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The so-called interim government is not independent; to our huge regret, it is dependent on the radical nationalists who seized power in an armed attack," he told a press conference on Saturday, responding to a question posed by Interfax on whether Moscow was ready to maintain contact with representatives of the current Ukrainian government over the situation in Ukraine.

"It seems to me our Western partners are well aware of what they are because they visit there regularly, and share very alarming impressions in private candid conversations, but for the reasons of seemingly political expediency are trying to hush up these facts," the minister said.

"The situation in Ukraine is difficult," Lavrov said, recalling that Viktor Yanukovych had removed police from the streets as per the February 21 agreement.

"Effectively, there is no state control whatsoever over public order, and the music is ordered by the so-called Right Sector which operates with the methods of terror and intimidation," the Russian foreign minister said.

"Already threats are sounded not only against officials in Kyiv and other Ukrainian regions, but against heads of the Russian regions neighboring with Ukraine as well," Lavrov said.

Representatives from the current Ukrainian government asked for the Right Sector's consent to the ministers' candidacies, the Russian foreign minister also said.

"The current leaders of the interim government, as you said, sought this Right Sector's consent to the ministers' candidacies, and now this Right Sector is unhappy, and its leaders claim that the re-set of the power system in Ukraine is not over, that they are not happy with the change of decoration, they demand that every minister be called to Maidan so they all report on how they fulfill the Maidan leaders' demands," Lavrov said.

"The leaders of this interim government, as you said, have suggested that this 'right sector' be vested with a status and functions of an official legitimate armed law-enforcement structure," he recalled.

"You are probably aware of this fact as well, when the deputy defense ministers refused to do so, they were simply fired. So it is very hard for us to talk about the independence of the new authorities," the minister added.

"The Right Sector has demanded that the arsenals of the Ukrainian armed forces be opened and the weapons handed over to it. I do not know how this can be perceived in terms of these representatives being civil and democratic, so their independence can be judged by what I have said," the foreign minister said.

"When we are being exhorted to work directly with the current leaders of Verkhovna Rada for the sake of settling the Ukrainian crisis and, in general, maintain a major strategic dialogue with them, that is a substitution of notions," Lavrov said.

During preparations for the signing of the February 21 between the Ukrainian authorities and opposition, our Western partners promised Russia that if Viktor Yanukovych honors the assumed obligations, they will definitely persuade the other party and prevent radical nationalists from running the whole reform process in Ukraine, he said.

"President Yanukovych did as he promised, he delivered, but our partners failed to live up to their promises. This is probably the reason of where we are now," Lavrov said.

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