MOSCOW, March 5 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s foreign minister said Wednesday that a February 21 agreement to create a coalition government in Ukraine is immutable and must be the basis for peace in the country.
“The most heated phase of this crisis began when, in essence, an armed overthrow of the government and the legitimately elected president took place in violation of Ukraine’s constitution,” Sergei Lavrov said.
The EU-brokered agreement, which would have allowed the erstwhile pro-Russia government to remain in power until early elections, must be fulfilled, Lavrov told reporters on an official visit to Madrid.
Ukraine’s ousted President Viktor Yanukovych was impeached by the parliament a day after the agreement was signed, enabling the opposition to take control and appoint interim leadership.
Lavrov also said the deployment of international observers to the southern Ukrainian region of Crimea should be agreed with the regional government and not the national parliament.
Thousands of unidentified troops under apparent command from Russia have taken control over Ukrainian military bases across Crimea over the past week.
Russia’s parliament has given its approval to military intervention in Ukraine, ostensibly for peace-keeping purposes. But Putin has denied that Russian troops are already deployed, and has described the well-armed troops seen driving around Crimea in vehicles bearing Russian military license plates as “local militia.”
The region’s government has announced that it will consider a referendum to secede from Ukraine by the end of the month.