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Kremlin: Russian presidential aide told Putin about results of talks with Nuland

January 20, 2016, 14:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The meeting between Vladislav Surkov and Victoria Nuland focused on the settlement of the armed conflict in east Ukraine

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Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov

Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov

© Stanislav KrasilnikovITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, January 20. /TASS/. Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov who met with US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland last week reported to President Vladimir Putin on the results of these negotiations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.

The meeting between Surkov and Nuland focused on the exchange of opinions on the settlement of the armed conflict in east Ukraine, Peskov told journalists.

"Surkov is dealing with this issue [the Ukraine settlement]. That is why, he constantly reports to the head of state on the issue he oversees," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Speaking about the talks between Surkov and Nuland, the Kremlin spokesman said that "in this case, the talk is about a dialog at the expert level between Moscow and Washington."

"The US is not a participant in the Normandy format process [talks between Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine]. At the same time, everyone is, of course, interested in the fact that US, while not being a Normandy format participant, should get first-hand information," the Kremlin spokesman said.

When asked about whether the Surkov-Nuland meeting had been held to inform the US side about what was taking place "in the Normandy format process," the Kremlin spokesman answered in the affirmative.

"Including for the purpose of bringing the positions to the notice of each other, which is, undoubtedly, the most comfortable and productive thing to do during such working meetings," Peskov said.

Russian presidential aide Surkov and US Assistant Secretary of State Nuland met in Kaliningrad on January 15 to hold substantial consultations in the search for a compromise on Ukraine.

"This was a sort of a brainstorm on the search for a compromise to implement the Minsk accords," Surkov said.

According to him, "ideas were put forward on some sensitive issues, for example, the constitutional reform [in Ukraine], security and elections, which could be discussed in the Contact Group in the Normandy format."

The Surkov-Nuland meeting was organized in the follow-up of the talks held between Russia’s President Putin, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry as part of Kerry’s visit to Moscow on December 15 last year.

Ukrainian troops have been engaged in fighting with local militias during Kiev’s punitive operation, underway since mid-April 2014, against the breakaway territories — the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics constituting parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine.

Massive shelling of residential neighborhoods, including with the use of aviation, has killed thousands and led to a humanitarian disaster in the area.

Kiev has regularly violated the ceasefire regime imposed as part of the Package of Measures on implementation of the September 2014 Minsk Agreements.

The Package (Minsk-2) was signed on February 12, 2015 in the Belarusian capital Minsk by participants of the Contact Group on settlement in Donbas.

The Package, earlier agreed with the leaders of the Normandy Four (Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine) envisioned an overwhelming cessation of fire and withdrawal of heavy armaments to create a security area in the region at least 50 kilometers wide.

In line with the agreement reached at talks in Minsk, from September 1, 2015 there should have been a complete cessation of fire at the disengagement line in Donbass. However, the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) has registered an increased number of shelling instances over the past few months.

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