Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says he blames Ukraine for the escalation of fighting in the east, linking it to the G7 summit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday (June 8) that Ukraine is responsible for the escalation of fighting in the east of the country ahead of the G7 summit. "The summit of the so-called G7 is taking place now. (Kiev) probably wanted to escalate the situation to the extreme ahead of this summit bearing in mind that G7 members stated that sanctions against Russia will remain in force until Russia implements the Minsk agreements. You know, it is a kind of a Joker card in the hands of the Ukrainian authorities: we, Ukrainians, will disrupt the implementation of the Minsk agreements, but it will be Russia who will suffer because of it because no one will lift sanctions against Russia," Lavrov told a news conference after talks with his Belarussian counterpart Vladimir Makei. British Prime Minister David Cameron and European Council President Donald Tusk said they hoped the G7 meeting in Germany would present a united front on sanctions towards Russia over the Ukraine crisis. "In this situation, taking a position where sanctions against Russia are linked to the implementation of the Minsk agreements by Russia only, our Western partners became hostages of the current Ukrainian government," Lavrov said. European Union leaders agreed in March that its sanctions on Moscow over its role in Ukraine would stay until a ceasefire agreement reached in the Belarussian capital of Minsk on February 12 is fully implemented, but a formal decision has yet to be taken. Russia, which annexed the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in March last year, denies providing pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine with weapons and soldiers. Lavrov also urged Western powers to ensure that Kiev meets its obligations under the agreement, which include pulling back heavy weapons and allowing more autonomy in regions held by the separatists.