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Russia is ready to cooperate with everyone who desires a faster solution to Ukraine’s crisis, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
“We are interested in a settlement in Ukraine and in cooperation with all who want it and will respect the entire nation’s interests,” Lavrov said, referring to Ukraine’s possible incoming president Petro Poroshenko.
To that end, interests of the entire Ukrainian nation must be taken into account, including the “lawful demands” of the southeastern regions, he said.
The eastern city of Donetsk was in turmoil Tuesday a day after government forces used fighter jets to stop pro-Russia separatists from taking over the airport.
Lavrov said Moscow was not considering a visit of Poroshenko to Russia at the moment, while stressing that Kiev needs to “negotiate” with the “protestors”.
“Mr Poroshenko will hardly receive a warm welcome in southeast Ukraine if resistance is suppressed before his inauguration,” he said.
Ukrainian officials said at least 40 people, including two civilians, have been killed in fierce fighting between armed activists and government troops in Ukraine’s eastern city of Donetsk since Monday.
On Monday, Poroshenko said that once sworn in office, he would end violence in Ukraine’s eastern regions, seek peace with Russia, forge ties with the European Union (EU), and resolve the dispute with Moscow over the status of Crimea.
Lavrov also accused the West of attempting to mount pressure on Moscow, saying it “blames Russia for nearly every conflict anywhere in the world.”
“When the EU and the United States led the situation (in Ukraine) to the dead end, they started to blame us (for inciting tension),” Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
Noting that the European Council was to decide on further measures against Moscow, Lavrov said, “no attempts to pressure Russia have ever succeeded”.