Arestovych explains Russia’s desire to resume offline TCG talks.

Russia needs offline talks to continue trying to impose a dialogue on Ukraine with the representatives of the so-called “LPR” and “DPR” within the Trilateral Contact Group.

In this way Russia is trying to show that it is not a party to the conflict, Oleksiy Arestovych, spokesperson for the Ukrainian delegation to the TCG, said on the air of the Dom TV channel, Ukrinform reports.

“As they failed to immediately convince the new OSCE representatives, who came to work in the TCG, they probably decided to show on TV the Ukrainian representatives sitting at the same table with the representatives of the so-called ‘LPR’, ‘DPR’ and the OSCE representatives… This is one of the methods used, and if the world media, Ukrainian, Russian, etc., report that our delegation sits at the same table with these representatives [of ‘LPR’ and ‘DPR’], it will be much easier to sell the idea that we entered into direct negotiations with them," Arestovych explained.

The meeting of the Ukrainian delegation with representatives of the illegal armed formations is out of the question, he added.

At the same time, the format of face-to-face meetings, though stipulated by the Minsk agreements is impossible in the conditions of coronavirus. After all, according to the rules in force in Ukraine, all citizens must self-isolate for 14 days after arriving from Russia and India.

With regard to the TCG meetings, the issue of a new venue will be considered when the quarantine restrictions are lifted.

"It is highly questionable whether Minsk can retain the status of a mediator given that we did not recognize Lukashenko as the legitimately elected president of Belarus and denied him the right to represent the Belarusian people. Therefore, the talks are most likely to be postponed from Minsk. And this is another very long procedure," Arestovych said.

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