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Lavrov, Steinmeier discussing Ukrainian settlement

May 11, 12:50 UTC+3 BERLIN
The meeting takes place ahead of Wednesday's meeting of the foreign ministers of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine)
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (right) and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (right) and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier

© EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV

BERLIN, May 11. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the foreign ministers of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France, Ukraine).

The talks are being held in Borsig suburban villa.

The parties are due to discuss the Ukrainian settlement, in particular, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, compliance with the ceasefire, local elections, amnesty, Constitutional reforms and prisoner exchanges.

Ahead of the meeting, Moscow called the situation with the Minsk-2 implementation "deplorable." But the Kremlin said "the Normandy process is now the main basis for searching how to resolve the crisis in Ukraine."

On Tuesday, Berlin hosted the meeting of the Normandy Four (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) deputy foreign ministers to prepare the ministerial meeting.

In comments on its outcome, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told TASS that the Kiev authorities are still either unable or unwilling to take steps towards the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Local elections in Donbass are one of the key points of political settlement in eastern Ukraine. Under the Minsk agreements, the polls were to be held back in 2015, along with a constitutional reform to grant a special status to certain areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

However, these elections have been postponed more than once due to Kiev’s reluctance to meet its commitments, in particular to grant amnesty to all participants in the events in Donbass, to pass laws on the special status and on elections.

Late last year the leaders of the Normandy Four countries set a new timeframe for elections - the first half of 2016. Ukraine still refuses to discuss preparations for the elections explaining this by a low security level in the region.

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