The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov about Ukraine on 23 April.
The Foreign Secretary called Foreign Minister Lavrov to press for the immediate implementation of the 17 April Geneva agreement. He urged Russia to take steps to de-escalate the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine, including making a clear public statement calling for illegally armed groups in eastern Ukraine to disarm and vacate occupied buildings. He also invited Russian diplomats to join efforts by the OSCE Monitoring Mission in the East.
Speaking after the call, the Foreign Secretary said:
I welcome the steps the Ukrainian Government is taking to implement the Geneva agreement, including tabling an amnesty law, close cooperation with the OSCE mission, and commitment to reforms aimed at decentralisation. I commend the Ukrainian Government’s restraint in responding to provocation and illegal armed occupations in the East. These are bold steps which demonstrate Ukraine’s clear commitment to the Geneva agreement; the UK will continue to support and encourage that approach.
At the same time, I call upon Russia to demonstrate commitment to the Geneva agreement. Moscow needs to join the vast majority of the countries calling for all sides to refrain from violence, intimidation and provocation and, in particular, to use its influence to ensure that illegal armed groups disarm, illegally seized buildings are vacated and returned to legitimate owners, and to support the efforts of the Ukrainian authorities to restore order and investigate violent crimes committed over the past days.