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Lavrov says Zelensky seeks to improve ties with Russia

"I have no doubt that as a man, politician and president he wants this", Russian Foreign Minister said

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky wants positive shifts in relations with Russia but some forces in Kiev are making every effort to stonewall his plans, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with the Bolshaya Igra (Big Game) program on Russia’s television Channel One.

"I have no doubt that as a man, politician and president he wants this," Lavrov said. "And at the same time, we see that in Ukraine there are those who are doing their utmost to prevent him from doing this and keep Russophobic stance in foreign policy and the conflict in Donbass, which satisfies many people."

"This is regrettable but we will be ready to do what we can to help him. In particular, we will encourage Donetsk and Lugansk to develop a very constructive approach to fulfilling those decisions to be agreed on at the Contact Group and proposed as part of the Normandy Four," Lavrov said.

The Normandy Four summit, which took place in Paris on December 9 for the first time after a three-year break, brought together French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

The four leaders reaffirmed their commitment to implementing a comprehensive ceasefire in Donbass before the end of 2019. They also voiced support for a plan to carry out the disengagement of forces in three more areas in Donbass by the end of March 2020 and conduct an all-for-all prisoner exchange before 2019 ends. The leaders agreed to continue their talks in four months. However, at a meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk on December 18 the sides failed to agree on particular measures on fulfilling the agreements reached at the summit.