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Lavrov: Recognizing Separatist Ukrainian Republics 'Counter-Productive'

A woman holds a flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic during a rally on Lenin Square in the center of Donetsk.

Recognizing the separatist republics of Lugansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine would be “counter-productive” for Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview Tuesday.

In an hour-long live video blog with Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, Lavrov said that recognizing the Lugansk People's Republic and the Donetsk People's Republic would give the West a reason to stop putting pressure on Kiev. “They don't like to say so in public, but when when they talk to the Ukrainians in private – and we know about this – they demand everything which we negotiated in Minsk,” said Lavrov.

Lavrov said that Russia would not be able to act if the West stopped putting pressure on Kiev. He also claimed that Russia's “occasional pressure” on the OSCE meant that the mission “publishes reports not only on the Donbass area, but on other regions of Ukraine.”

In April 2015, Vladimir Putin declined to comment on whether or not Moscow would recognize the pro-Russian separatist republics. He also said that any answer would be “counter-productive.”

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