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Russia positively assesses OSCE’s contribution to solve Ukraine’s crisis

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After a meeting of OSCE’s Ministerial Council, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, affirmed that Russia positively assesses the contribution of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to settling the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov also said that the Donbass roadmap does not replace the Minsk agreements on the Ukrainian conflict resolution. Regarding to OSCE’s armed mission in Donbass, neither member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has supported an idea to deploy an armed police mission in Donbass. Speaking about the particular status of Donbass into Ucrainian Constitution, Lavrov affirmed that the law on Donbass’ special status, enshrined in Ukraine’s Constitution on a permanent basis, would be a sufficient security guarantee for the election process according to Minsk’s agreements.

Syrian Army put its active combat operations in Aleppo on hold to evacuate civilians

On the sideline of OSCE’s Ministerial Council, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, affirmed that military activities in the Aleppo region were halted on December 8 only for a specific period of time in order to allow civilians to leave the city. Lavrov affirmed that Russia is looking for a solution that involves as few casualties as possible. On Thursday, the Syrian Army put its active combat operations in eastern Aleppo on hold to evacuate some 8,000 civilians. Lavrov added that he is hopeful about the upcoming talks on Syria in Geneva, saying there’s a good chance that an agreement can be reached regarding eastern Aleppo, provided that experts from the US actually show up in Switzerland. According to Lavrov, there is a good opportunity to strike an agreement with the United States on the withdrawal of all militants from eastern Aleppo at the meeting of experts on Saturday.

No reinforcements to the militants surrounded in Eastern Aleppo

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The militants surrounded in Eastern Aleppo will not get reinforcements, Lavrov said, adding that the US decision to lift the embargo on arms supplies to Syrian combatants will influence the Syria talks of Russia and the US. “It is another weird peculiarity of the US policy towards Syria and towards Aleppo, that is when the left hand is doing something constructive whereas the right hand is opening the sluice gate for pumping weapons to militants”, he noted.

No common approach on the roadmap for the Donbass settlement reached so far

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Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, affirmed that no common approach on the roadmap for the Donbass settlement has been reached so far. He reminded that the four Ministers met in late November in Minsk. So far, no common approach has surfaced, although the process is slowly moving, at a snail’s pace however. At their meeting in the Belarusian capital city on November 29, the Normandy Four, namely Russian, German, French and Ukrainian, Foreign Ministers failed to agree a roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk’s agreements. The agreements, signed on September 2014 and February 2015, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

Syrian government forces suspended military activities against militants in Aleppo

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, speaking in Hamburg on the sideline of OSCE meeting,  announced that Syrian government forces have suspended “active military activities” against militants in eastern Aleppo to enable the withdrawal of civilians from the city. Lavrov added that it had been agreed that Russian and US military experts would meet in Geneva, Switzerland, on Saturday. Lavrov also met with his US counterpart John Kerry, and later in the day held a telephone call with him. Russian Foreign Minister also said that Based on the US side’s declared readiness to facilitate the withdrawal of militants from that city, the sides agreed to look into practical details of this process.

All the attempts to discuss with the US over Syria’s conflict are futile

Lavrov stated that all attempts at starting a serious discussion with the US over Syria conflict had proved futile. He said he has the impression, that Washington tries to discredit Kerry’s statements and actions after the agreements had been concluded at meetings with him. He also pointed out that “it’s a pity that Western countries who are so proud of being concerned over human rights violations and the humanitarian situation in Aleppo, in fact continue to support radical activists and extremists,” and concluded saying that militants who will refuse to leave eastern Aleppo will be considered as terrorists.

US’ Aleppo proposals have been revoked

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, affirmed that the United States have said that it is revoking its proposals of December 2 concerning the withdrawal of militants from eastern Aleppo, while Washington’s new proposals would let the extremists take a break.  Lavrov stated that all attempts at starting a serious discussion with the United States over Syria had proved futile. According to Russian Foreign Minister, the USA are currently working on an alternative plan for the city. At a rendezvous with Lavrov in Rome on December Kerry called for Russian-US consultations on eastern Aleppo. Washington’s initiative came against the background of the Syrian army’s successes in the struggle against extremists in the city. Kerry’s proposals envisaged coordination of dates and routes for the militants’ pullout from eastern Aleppo. It was expected that Russian and US experts were to enter into consultations over Kerry’s initiative in Geneva on 6th or 7th December. He said the Wednesday consultations are canceled at this point. Lavrov also added that there is nothing to be rejected. A Russian-US agreement has not been formalized yet. Anyway, “those who will refuse to leave of their own accord will be wiped out. There is no other solution”.

Russian FM and US Secretary of State on the procedure for the withdrawal of rebel forces from Aleppo

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, revealed a proposal made by US Secretary of State, John Kerry,  to Russia about the procedure for the withdrawal of rebel forces  from the Syrian city of Aleppo. He also said that the two countries will discuss the issue in the coming days.  The Russian Foreign Minister added that any armed group that refuses to leave Aleppo will be treated by Russia as terrorists, adding that Moscow will support the Syrian Army’s operations against them. The proposal by Kerry was handed over on Saturday, after he and Lavrov met in Rome. On Monday, Lavrov said that negotiations on the plan are expected to begin on Tuesday morning. He added that the beginning of the talks had been postponed by a few days at Washington’s request.

Syrian army has two-thirds of East Aleppo

Syrian rebels on Monday ruled out a pullout from east Aleppo, despite sweeping advances by pro-government units. The Syrian army has now seized two-thirds of east Aleppo and continued to advance on Monday, pounding remaining territory held by anti-goverrnment forces. Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow would hold talks with Washington this week on a timeframe for the withdrawal of all rebels from Aleppo. Both officials said rebels remained willing to approve a UN plan for the entry of humanitarian aid into the east, which has been besieged by government forces since mid-July. The assault has raised an international outcry and the UN Security Council was due to vote later Monday on a draft resolution – drawn up by Egypt, New Zealand and Spain – for a seven-day ceasefire in the city and humanitarian access to residents trapped by the fighting. But Lavrov appeared to torpedo that move, suggesting Moscow might use its veto to block the resolution.”The draft resolution… is, for the most part, a provocative step that undermines Russian-American efforts,” he told a press conference.

Syrian opposition might cooperate with Russia to end the fighting in Aleppo

According four anonymous source, cited by Financial Times, leaders of the Syrian opposition are holding negotiations with Russian representatives to end the fighting in Aleppo. The US is allegedly not aware of the talks.  The talks are taking place in Ankara, brokered by Turkey, and Washington is not participating in the negotiations, the sources told to the international daily. The sources added that it is not the first time that the Syrian opposition has met with the Russian side, but it is unprecedented that so many rebel groups would participate in the negotiations.  On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that Russia and Turkey are constantly in touch with various groups in Syria. Lavrov also noted that Russia called to set up contacts with armed Syrian opposition groups during the Lausanne talks a month ago.

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