Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told EU ambassadors to Russia that the European Union linking normalization of relations with Russia to full implementation of the Minsk agreements is absurd, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

Lavrov also called on the EU to actively contribute to Kiev implementing its obligations under the Minsk accord fully and unconditionally.

“Having outlined Russia’s continuing intention to restore cooperation with the European Union, Sergei Lavrov stressed the absurdity of the European Union linking the normalization of relations with Russia to full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The minister called on the European Union to actively contribute to Kiev implementing its obligations fully and unconditionally,” the statement read.

Kiev launched a special military operation in Ukraine’s southeast in April 2014, after local residents refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities, which came to power as a result of a coup. In February 2015, the two sides reached a peace agreement after talks brokered by the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine — the so-called Normandy Format — in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Kiev has been reluctant to implement a number of Minsk deal provisions.

Since 2014, relations between Russia and the European Union deteriorated amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions since Crimea became part of Russia in 2014 and over Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability.

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