A meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in Minsk on Monday should discuss an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. “I am very much counting upon the negotiations set for today, to above all focus on agreeing an immediate and unconditional ceasefire,” he said a meeting with university students according to Russian news agencies.
Representatives of Kiev, Moscow and the OSCE are to meet on Monday in Minsk, but it was unclear if representatives of pro-Russian separatists would attend. Lavrov was highly sceptical of the peace plan of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
“We need to sit down and talk, and not insist upon unrealistic demands that the rebels give up their weapons and let themselves be killed,” he said while meeting with students of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. “That is all what Petro Alexeyevich Poroshenko’s peace plan is driving at.”
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Lavrov also said that from Russia “there will be no military intervention (in Ukraine), we are for an exclusively peaceful resolution of that most serious crisis, that tragedy.”
Last week Kiev and the West accused Moscow of having intervened directly in the fighting amid growing signs that Russian troops were helping separatists stage a lightning counter-offensive that has thrown Ukrainian troops back.
NATO accused Russia of having more than 1,000 of its troops deployed in Ukraine and 20,000 massed on the border. Russia has repeatedly denied that its troops are directly involved in the conflict and that it has supplied the rebels.