Russian Foreign Minister Admits Russian Is Supporting Separatists in Ukraine

At a meeting Wednesday between Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, Lavrov, in addition to commending the “usefulness” of Zannier’s upcoming trip to the Rostrov region–where Zannier would meet some of the 12,000 refugees reported to have fled from the turbulent Donetsk region–also admitted that Russia was providing “humanitarian aid” to residents of Southeastern Ukraine “through militia members” since Kiev refused to do so.

“We’re providing aid by all means available through militiamen, who voice concern over suffering endured by their children, mothers and wives,” Lavrov said. Lavrov did not detail the type of humanitarian aid Russia was providing.

In April, Lavrov was also the one who admitted that Russians took part in Ukraine’s separatis rallies–something that had previously been denied by the Russian government. On April 12, Lavrov told TV station Russia 1 during an interview, “These are not our military, our agents. There are Russian citizens, some of them were shown in a number of TV shows, one guy came from Volgograd. This is not surprising. On the Maidan there were different people, including Swedish extremists, etcetera. Nothing like this is happening there. We are accused that there are Russian intelligence agents–but they are not there. There are no our troops as well.”

In the April interview, Lavrov blamed the Ukrainian govenrment and authorities for the goings on. “The fact that people were driven to despair when they hung Russian flags,” said Lavrov, “and cried ‘Putin, help, save us from the Nazis,’ is primarily the fault of those who declared themselves the power in Kyiv. It is impossible not to talk to people.”

In the meeting Wednesday Lavrov voiced his support for non-Ukrainian efforts to control the situation in Ukraine.

“We believe that the OSCE Mission should continue its work. We discussed this issue on February 25. Many events have occurred since then,” Lavrov said in the meeting. “It is necessary to make the work of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission more concrete and substantial,” Lavrov added, stating that attempts to replace the OSCE plan with other plans would be counterproductive.

By Day Blakely Donaldson