Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia (R) stops U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton (C) in Geneva April 17, 2014. (Reuters / Jim Bourg)
– Kiev: Military operation in Ukraine southeast to go on despite Geneva agreement (RT, April 17, 2014):
Despite calls for a peaceful dialogue in the document on Ukraine adopted in Geneva, the coup-imposed Ukrainian Foreign Minister said it will not affect the “anti-terrorist” operation in the East of the country and the troops will remain there.
Soon after the Geneva document, adopted at a four-side meeting between Ukraine, the US, the EU and Russia, was published, Ukraine’s acting Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchytsa said Kiev is not bound by its recommendations.
According to Deshchytsa cited by RIA Novosti, “the troops in the East of the country are carrying out a special operation and can remain where they are.”
This comes despite the statement issued by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry following the meeting, which says:
“All sides have pledged to refrain from any form of violence, intimidation or provocative actions. The participants of the meeting strongly condemned and rejected all forms of extremism, racism and religious intolerance, including manifestations of anti-Semitism.”
Deshchytsa said the Ukrainian side has agreed on “joint efforts” with Russia “to start the process of de-escalation in eastern Ukraine.”
Speaking after the four-side meeting, US Secretary of State John Kerry also gave an assurance that the Ukrainian authorities are ready to ensure “inclusive and transparent” constitutional reform. All regions of Ukraine will be included in the work towards this reform, he said.
Ukraine will take de-escalation measures in the coming days, Kerry claimed, adding that Washington will “watch that very closely.”
“All of this, we are convinced, represents a good day’s work, but on the other hand, this day’s work has produced principles, and it has produced commitments and it has produced words on paper. And we are the first to understand and agree that words on paper will only mean what the actions taken as a result of those words produce,” Kerry said.
The top US diplomat again threatened Russia with “additional sanctions, additional costs as a consequence,” if there is no progress in eastern Ukraine. At the same time, he hinted some sanctions may be lifted if the de-escalation process goes well.
All sides of the conflict in Ukraine must refrain from violence and provocations, Kerry stressed. International meetings on Ukraine should continue, he said.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has assessed the talks as “frank but constructive discussions,” saying that “it was extremely important to bring us all together here to have that process of dialogue begin.”
“We absolutely welcomed the Ukrainian commitment to conduct an inclusive and transparent constitutional process,” Ashton said.
The EU diplomat stressed that measures to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine should be taken “immediately,” with the leading role given to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, which will “assist the Ukrainian authorities and local communities to take the necessary measures that they need to take.”
Ashton said the EU will “continue to support efforts to stabilize the situation in Ukraine economically, financially and politically.”
“Today President Barroso of the European Commission wrote to President Putin on behalf of the European Union, accepting President Putin’s proposal for consultations with Russia and Ukraine, trilateral consultations, on the security of gas supply and transit,” she added.