Ukraine crisis: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accuses Ukraine of 'crudely violating the Geneva accord'

The accord was agreed upon less than a week ago

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The Independent Online

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the interim Ukrainian government of “crudely violat[ing] the Geneva Accord" which was made last week in an attempt to avert a wider conflict between the neighbouring countries.

During a press conference on Monday, Mr Lavrov said that the leaders in Kiev - accused by Moscow of seizing power through a coup - are taking steps that "not only that do not fulfil, but that crudely violate the Geneva agreement."

He added that a gunfight, killing at least three people early on Sunday near the Russian-controlled Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, was a crime which showed Kiev did not want to control "extremists".

"The authorities are doing nothing, not even lifting a finger, to address the causes behind this deep internal crisis in Ukraine," he said.

Mr Lavrov added that the Ukrainian authorities had failed to remove illegal protests from squares in Kiev, Ukraine's capital."This is absolutely unacceptable," he said.

Sunday’s violence put further pressure on the already fragile accord reached last Thursday between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union, in an attempt to cool the worst diplomatic tensions between Russia and the West since the Cold War. 

It called for an immediate end to violence in Ukraine, where Western powers believe Russia is fomenting a pro-Russian separatist movement - an allegation Moscow denies.

Illegal armed groups are also to return home, according to the agreement, in a process to be overseen by Europe's OSCE watchdog.

However, separatists have shown little sign of leaving public buildings in largely Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

The White House has demanded that Russia uses its influence over the separatists to make them vacate government buildings, despite Moscow insisting it has none.

Washington has also told Moscow that it would be subjected stronger economic sanctions if it fails to uphold the Geneva deal.

"Before giving us ultimatums, demanding that we fulfil demands within two or three days with the threat of sanctions, we would urgently call on our American partners to fully accept responsibility for those who they brought to power," Lavrov said.

He added that attempts to isolate Russia would fail because it was "a big, independent power that knows what it wants."

Additional reporting by Reuters