Moscow seeks to discuss Ukraine with EU partners - Lavrov
Moscow plans to have a substantial conversation on the situation in Kyiv with its EU partners, who seem to view Ukraine as a free addition to their profits, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
"Our European Union partners are worrying primarily because they feel that this rather cheap addition to their profits, if not free ones, especially amid the crisis, is going away. The second reason is ideological charge. Those who thought in terms of 'either-or' and those who sought to tear our neighbors off Russia, even if artificially and through blackmail, have seen that not everything is so simple," Lavrov said on Rossiya-24 news television channel on Saturday.
"We will certainly talk about this, and quite seriously. I hope my partners will take an honest approach to it and will not evade it on some pretexts," he said.
Moscow believes the situation in Ukraine was orchestrated and planned in advance, Lavrov said. "The reaction to the legitimate Ukrainian authorities' sovereign decision, which borders on hysterics, is astounding," he said.
"An absolutely normal event, such as the declaration by the government that detailed analysis of this [association] agreement suggests that it is not very beneficial to Ukraine, that they want to take more time to ponder, refuse to sign it right now and will scrutinize it causes such a rabid reaction - I can't find another word. A demonstration of such a scale and with so bitter mottos has been arranged as if the country declared war on some peaceful state contrary to the Ukrainian people's will. This goes beyond normal human analysis. There is no doubt that some provocateurs stand behind this. I am really saddened to see that our Western partners have apparently lost the sense of reality," he said.
"How can you explain what is going on in Ukraine now, as the foreign policy chiefs and the European Union high commissioner come there and demand that the Ukrainian people make a choice in favor of joining an association with the EU? Just look at the difference in the positions. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said repeatedly that we all have to respect Ukraine's sovereignty, and we all will have to respect the choice that the Ukrainian people will make. As for the Western Europeans, they are saying: everyone must respect the Ukrainian people's choice in favor of Europe. That is, the choice has already been made for the Ukrainians, and everyone only has to respect it. This suggests sad conclusions," Lavrov said.
The Russian-EU Permanent Partnership Council will hold a ministerial meeting on December 16, at which Lavrov said he plans to bring up the issue of Ukraine.
"The EU is trying to impose its position on the so-called Eastern Partnership countries while they cannot stand competition with an overwhelming majority of European goods. But it is luring them into a free trade area by acquiring their markets, which will be immediately filled with more competitive products from Europe, killing analogous industries in the countries that would sign association agreements, which would cause problems to Russia, because we don't have customs borders with these countries either. This is what it's all about," he said.
Asked whether the door to the Belarusian-Kazakh-Russian Customs Union is open to Ukraine, Lavrov replied, "The door to the Customs Union is open to any state that is prepared to sign all documents constituting its foundation and then documents that, in addition to the Customs Union, constitute the foundation of the Common Economic Area."
"A treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union should be drafted by next May, which will remove all restrictions, eliminate all exceptions, and ensure complete, unimpeded, and free movement of goods, capitals, workforce, and services," Lavrov said.