No EU country would tolerate Ukraine protest violence at home

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the violence currently consuming the Ukrainian capital Kiev was in “no small part” being organized from abroad, adding no EU country would accept such disorder within its own borders.

“As it turns out, these agitators have not even considered  the interests of the Ukrainian opposition itself, in so far as  they have attempted to incite violence,” Lavrov said during  a media conference in Moscow.

“When something like this happens within a European country,  no one questions the need to curb the disorder and violence with  firm measures,” he added.

Lavrov criticized some European states for handling the Ukrainian  crisis in such an offhand manner, warning that their interference  could cause the situation to spiral out of control. He was  especially critical of the fact that members of several European  states have rushed to Independence Square in Kiev to participate  in the anti-government demonstrations despite having diplomatic  relations with Ukraine.

“It’s just distasteful, and it is, by the way, fueling the  situation.”

In December, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton  and Guido Westerwelle, at the time Germany’s foreign minister,  visited the protesters. Although Lavrov made no direct mention of  US involvement on Tuesday, US Assistant Secretary of State  Victoria Nuland along with US senators Christopher Murphy and  John McCain also visited the protest camp that month.

Lavrov criticized the protesters for “violence, attacks on  police, arson, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices”,  characterizing their actions as a”complete violation of all  European standards of behavior.”

“I personally think that these calls for prudence, which the  leaders of the opposition and Vitaly Klitschko in particular are  now making, show that the situation is spinning out of  control,” Lavrov said.

A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at Dynamo stadium in Kiev. (RIA Novosti/Andrey Stenin)A protester throws a Molotov cocktail at Dynamo stadium in Kiev. (RIA Novosti/Andrey Stenin)

The Russian FM said, however, there was no immediate need for  Russia to step in as a mediator, and no such request had been  made thus far. Despite obvious differences of opinion, Russia is  ready and willing to listen to their European partners during a  EU-Russia summit slated for next week.

Lavrov noted that Brussels had so far failed to respond to a  Russian initiative regarding a trilateral dialogue relating to  the prospects for Ukraine’s economic integration.

“Why hasn’t the EU yes to offer an explanation? It will be  interesting to hear what they have to say at the upcoming  summit,” he said.

The “Euromaidan” protests have consumed the Ukrainian capital  Kiev for the past two months after the government of Ukrainian  President Viktor Yanukovych decided to suspend preparations for  signing an Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free  Trade Agreement with the European Union.”

Violence erupted on Sunday after the government introduced  controversial laws curbing protests in the country and banning  the wearing of helmets and gas masks at rallies. Thousands of  protesters threw rocks and Molotov cocktails, setting police  vehicles on fire. Police responded with stun grenades, teargas  and even a water cannon, but were overwhelmed by the sheer  numbers and were forced to take cover.

Yanukovych called for calm on Monday as the street battles  continued, warning the violence threatend “not only Kiev but  the whole of the Ukraine.”

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