Russia says can work with West on Ukraine but sets out conditions

by Reuters
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:54 GMT

MOSCOW, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Russia said on Thursday it is prepared to work with the West on resolving the crisis in Ukraine but that the interests of all Ukrainians must be taken into account and any agreements reached must be implemented.

After the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovich, Russia has accused Ukraine's new leaders of violating a Western-backed peace deal and of ignoring the interests of Ukrainians in Russian-speaking regions of the east and south.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Western states had rejected Russian proposals for joint efforts to resolve the crisis "before it shifted to its hot phase.

"Nonetheless, we are ready for interaction, with the clear understanding that it will be honest and based on the ability not just to agree but to implement agreements that must take the interests of the entire Ukrainian people into account."

Russia did not join European Union diplomats in signing a Feb. 21 deal between Yanukovich and his foes that aimed to resolve a three-month-long standoff that killed dozens of people in the capital, Kiev.

But since Yanukovich fled and former opposition leaders who support close EU ties have won top posts, Moscow has seized on the peace deal as possible path to a solution and repeatedly accused the new leaders of flouting it.

Lukashevich also said comments by NATO officials about Ukraine amounted to meddling by the Western military alliance, saying that "they are again trying to make decisions for the Ukrainian people".

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