MOSCOW, April 20. /TASS/. Kiev pledged to hold a direct dialogue with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
"The direct dialogue is Kiev’s commitment in line with the [Minsk] agreements," Lavrov said, in comments to a statement by his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin that "Kiev will not hold a direct dialogue with the representatives of Donetsk and Luhansk as Russia wants it to."
The minister also noted that the formation of working groups within the Contact Group on the Ukrainian conflict settlement is dragged out with Kiev’s new requests, which were not subjected to discussions.
"It is clear why Kiev drags out the formation of working groups," Lavrov said. "It proves Kiev’s unwillingness to begin practical implementation of the Minsk-2 accords."
"Today we see that the formation of the working groups of the Contact Group is being obstructed by some requests, which were never discussed with anyone and they imply engagement of some experts besides members of the Contact Group."
According to Lavrov, Moscow is opposed to diluting the format of the Contact Group on Ukraine and attracting some outside experts.
"Right now, there are attempts to link the beginning of work of Contact Group subgroups to new requirements, which were never discussed with anyone, to attract to the work of these subgroups outside experts, moderators, representatives of international NGOs. We are opposed to diluting the Contact Group format," he said.
"Such format should be implemented in its working mechanisms, and we speak against deluging them with certain outside experts no one has ever heard about," Lavrov added.