Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry
On January 25, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a phone call initiated by the US side.
The conversation focused on the situation in southeast Ukraine. Sergey Lavrov pointed out that the current aggravation was due to the continued shelling of cities and towns by the Ukrainian armed forces in gross violation of the Minsk agreements. Kiev has not responded to President Vladimir Putin’s letter of January 15 to Petr Poroshenko urging the sides to withdraw their heavy weaponry from the line of contact as soon as possible in accordance with the Minsk Protocol of September 19, 2014, despite the fact that this approach was supported at the ministerial meeting of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and France in Berlin on January 21 this year. The Foreign Minister reminded his US counterpart about the Kiev government’s failure to honour its commitment to launch an inclusive constitutional process with all regions and political forces in the country. Moreover, no progress has been made in the investigation of numerous crimes committed during the internal conflict in Ukraine.
Both officials called for an immediate cessation of artillery attacks in Donbass and the separation of heavy weaponry, and confirmed their countries’ willingness to help resolve the conflict in Ukraine. In response to Mr Kerry’s proposal on expanding the format of negotiations, Mr Lavrov said that Russia would do everything in its power to encourage the sides to choose peace, but it should be remembered that practical results can only be achieved through dialogue with Donetsk and Lugansk, which Kiev has been avoiding while using force to suppress resistance in southeast Ukraine. Mr Lavrov again urged the United States to use its influence to convince the Ukrainian leadership to stop seeking a military solution.
They also discussed the situation in Syria in light of the inter-Syrian consultations that are scheduled to begin in Moscow on January 26 to search for ways to end the conflict in Syria.
Other issues on the bilateral agenda, including a schedule of bilateral contacts, were also discussed.