Russian FM says Kiev must keep neutral status

Russian FM says Kiev must keep neutral status
# 28 January 2015 17:44 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Ukraine must maintain its neutral status so as to prevent further division of the war-torn country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"In order to prevent the further disintegration of Ukraine, it is essential that the country retain its neutral status," Lavrov told the Serbian magazine Horizons, which was published Wednesday.

Lavrov criticized the United States and its Western allies for their "attempts to impose their own will across the world" and blasted NATO for its "empty words" of not expanding eastward.

"NATO's infrastructure has continuously drawn closer to Russian borders," Lavrov claimed.

He said NATO is unable to overcome Cold War mentality as the alliance has instantly shifted to confrontational rhetoric, curtailed cooperation with Russia and increased military presence near Russian borders.

The minister said he was disappointed that the task of creating a common space of peace, security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area has not been accomplished despite Russia's repeated calls.

Lavrov said West's trend of ignoring Russia's interests culminated in the Ukraine crisis.

He reiterated that attempts to put pressure on Russia through unilateral and illegitimate sanctions will not make the country forgo what it thinks is right and just.

"Despite the complexity of the situation, it is our firm belief that peace and concord can still be reached in Ukraine," Lavrov said, adding that Russia will continue to contribute in every possible way to create a favorable climate for the peace process in Ukraine.

As the article, titled "Russia's priorities in Europe and the world," was published, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew was touring Kiev, where he said his country will "continue to work with our allies to increase the pressure on Russia."

Lavrov urged European partners to eliminate unnecessary tension together with Russia through "respectful dialogue and constructive cooperation involving all stakeholders."

Meanwhile, Lavrov stressed that Russia would always stick to the multiple-vector diplomatic principle, calling Russia's pivot to the Asia-Pacific region a national priority for the 21st century.