Russian envoy criticises EU envoys after Ukraine deal

by Reuters
Saturday, 22 February 2014 18:28 GMT

(Adds quotes, remark about Yanukovich and context)

MOSCOW, Feb 22 (Reuters) - An envoy sent to Ukraine by Russian President Vladimir Putin to participate in mediation efforts on Saturday criticised the European Union ministers who helped broker a peace deal in Kiev.

"I do not understand, frankly, how after recognising the legitimacy of President Yanukovich, the parliament, all the state structures, my European colleagues can then come to Kiev and go to the nationalist-revolutionary and terrorist Maidan and say there - down with the legitimate government they recognised," Vladimir Lukin said in a television interview.

The deal between Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich and the opposition was brokered by the foreign ministers of France, Poland and Germany, who signed it on Friday as witnesses. Lukin took part in talks but did not sign the deal.

Lukin said the decision not to sign the deal was made by the Russian leadership in Moscow, and suggested concerns power was already slipping from Yanukovich's grasp were among the reasons for the decision.

It was unclear "to what degree Yanukovich was capable yesterday of implementing the agreement - any agreement, including this one. This is being confirmed today," he said. Yanukovich fled Kiev and accused opponents of staging a coup.

It was also unclear "to what degree the three gentlemen who participated from the other side ... are in control of the situation," he said, referring to Ukraine's three main opposition leaders.

Lukin praised the deal as a compromise that "opened the way to some sort of a future peaceful path, which unfortunately is not yet being realised".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov complained to the three EU ministers earlier on Saturday that the opposition had failed to fulfill the agreement and was "following the lead of armed extremists" and pogromists". (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk and Steve Gutterman; Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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