Russia Calls for Non-Interference in Ukraine

World | December 4, 2013, Wednesday // 17:21|  views

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, calls for non-interference in Ukraine, photo by EPA/BGNES

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the "aggressive" protesters in Ukraine, as well as the Western countries condemning police violence in Kiev.

Lavrov spoke at a NATO Foreign Ministers conference Wednesday.

"We hope Ukrainian politicians will resolve the difficult situation in the state peacefully. We call on other countries not to interfere," stressed Lavrov.

"I am bewildered by the reason behind the aggressive actions of part of the Ukrainian opposition," Sergei Lavrov stated during a press conference in Brussels.

A few days ago, NATO condemned police violence in Ukraine and their use of batons and teargas to disperse pro-EU demonstrators in Kiev.

The Ukrainian army will not be used to counter act protests in the country, announced Ukraine's Ministry of Defense in an official statement Tuesday, after media reports in the previous days alleging that army units were mobilized to be deployed against massive anti-cabinet rallies in capital Kiev.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense further rejected all calls, coming from anti-protest organizations, for the deployment of the army, saying that such a move is ruled out, being anti-constitutional in the case of internal political struggles.

Thousands of citizens and university students have been staging mass rallies for over a week in Kiev against their President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign the Association Agreement with the EU.

Rallies have been reported in Odessa, Lvov, and other cities.

Ukraine made the decision on the EU deal nearly two weeks ago, saying it could not afford to break ties with Moscow. Russia is trying to bring Kiev into its own customs union

The signing of the association agreement was set for November 29 in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

Last Friday - as Yanukovych attended the EU summit and refused to sign the agreement - about 10 000 demonstrators took to Independence Square, carrying Ukrainian and EU flags and chanting "Ukraine is Europe".

At dawn Saturday morning, riot police, dispersed the remaining demonstrators with batons and teargas and pushed them out of the central Maiadan square.

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians rallied again on Sunday despite a new government ban on protests in the city center until January 7, 2014.

The rally proceeded peacefully until a group of protesters tried to storm the nearby presidential administration building with an excavator, causing riot police to use teargas, batons and flash grenades to disperse them.

Another group tried to topple a monument of Lenin in downtown Kiev.

Dozens of people injured in the clashes were taken away by ambulance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, said events in Ukraine seemed "more like a porom than a revolution."

Putin blamed "outside actors" for the protests, which he pointed out, were an attempt to unsettle Ukraine's "legitimate" rulers.

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Tags: Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, Russia, NATO, Berkut, riot police, clashes, protest, European Union, EU, Ukraine, Kiev, President Viktor Yanukovych, Association Agreement, opposition, university students, Vladimir Putin


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