Kuleba seeks «substantive conversation» with Lavrov on Donbas settlement.

REUTERS

REUTERS

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba says he wants to have a substantive conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov regarding the Donbas settlement.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin, Kuleba said: "I assured Heiko today that I'm ready for a substantive conversation with Foreign Minister Lavrov in the quadripartite Normandy format, both on security and political issues of settlement."

"We want to very clearly understand what the sequence of steps will be in the settlement process and what steps Russia will take if Ukraine takes its steps accordingly," the minister said.

In turn, Maas noted that there is no other format, except for the Normandy Four, in which parties can talk Ukraine.

Read also German foreign minister explains why Germany refrains from arms supplies to Ukraine "We want there to be a meeting of ministers in the Normandy format. I spoke about this on Monday with my French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. It is important, if there is such a reciprocal meeting, that it is prepared properly, and we are now trying to prepare it. Such meetings make sense if they bring some result. Since there has been no progress lately, we are now looking for opportunities to revive the Normandy format and, in general, the entire Minsk process – to give new impulses for the implementation of the Minsk process," Maas said.

At the same time, Kuleba added that Ukraine is in close coordination with Germany and France, and he was informed of the intention of the German and French colleagues to have a phone call with Lavrov on Monday.

"The purpose of the conversation was to encourage Minister Lavrov to take part in our quadripartite meeting in the Normandy format," Kuleba said.

According to him, today with Maas, they discussed in detail what could be discussed at the meeting of the four top diplomats in the Normandy format if Lavrov agreed to participate.

Kuleba noted that now, thanks to the efforts of Maas and Le Drian, it was possible "to get a chance that such a meeting will take place."

"I sincerely hope that it will be held, and we are ready for a very substantive conversation. The main thing is that Mr. Lavrov should come to agree on it, and not come out with the classic Russian position that everyone is to blame except Russia. We will wait for this meeting and count on its effectiveness," summed up Kuleba.

Translation: Yevgeny Matyushenko

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