“The government in Kiev must implement reforms and introduce particular amendments in its constitution on the special status of Donbass and the electoral process in the region. We hope that the results will be achieved by the end of this year,” Ayrault said, according to the French newspaper.
This is the first time when the French government has taken the side of Moscow in the Ukrainian issue, Le Figaro said.
In the past, most Western countries blamed Russia for delaying the peace process in Eastern Ukraine. The belief was that Moscow doesn’t put enough pressure on Donbass militia, who according to the West, were under the Kremlin’s control and were allegedly responsible for ceasefire violations in the region, the newspaper said.
But on Tuesday, the French Foreign Minister openly admitted that it is Kiev that’s sabotaging peace in Donbass.
Ayrault also condemned the actions of new Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman who proposed to create the Ministry of the Occupied Territories, the term Kiev uses to call the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The top French diplomat warned Kiev that this step will delay the implementation of the Minsk deal, Le Figaro said.
The Russian Foreign Minister also criticized Groysman’s initiative, fearing that with the new ministry Kiev will try to conquer the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics by force and would certainly escalate the situation.
Southeastern Ukraine has been suffering from a crisis triggered by a military operation launched by Kiev authorities against local militias in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk in April 2014. The regions have refused to recognize the pro-Western government in Kiev that came to power in 2014 in what they consider to have been a coup.
In February 2015, Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine worked out a ceasefire deal in Minsk later signed by Kiev and the Donbass militia. Despite the fact that the agreement was reached a year ago, both sides have been repeatedly reporting violations of the deal.