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Minsk remains venue for Contact Group talks, they won’t be relocated — senior official

Nevertheless, the attempts to restart the discussion about who is considered a party to the conflict have never stopped

GENEVA, June 16. /TASS/. The talks of the Contact Group seeking peace for eastern Ukraine have not broken up, but take place regularly on schedule, Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Chief of Staff of Russia’s Presidential Executive Office, told TASS on Wednesday.

"Nothing is being relocated. The Contact Group’s meetings are held regularly on schedule, every second Wednesday at 13.00. The format of the negotiations remains in place and is not called into doubt. But the question is that there is no result. In the six years since the Minsk accords were signed, one of the sides (Ukraine - TASS) has been concocting how not to implement them," he said.

"The counterparts are continually trying to revive the discussion about fundamental causes of the conflict and the parties to the conflict. This discussion ended on February 12, 2015 with the signing of the Minsk agreements," Kozak continued. "Everyone reaffirms their commitment with the agreements - Ukraine, the countries of the Normandy format alongside members of the United Nations Security Council. Everyone stands for the Minsk accords."

"It is said from time to time that Russia should implement the [Minsk] agreements. But when asked what commitment Russia should fulfill in accordance with these agreements, there is silence," the deputy chief of staff added. "At best, Ukraine, France, Germany and the United States call on Russia to exert influence on Donbass. However, there is no answer, either, to the question which commitments from the agreements the DPR and LPR (the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk - TASS) are not compliant with."

"Donbass representatives have already submitted to Ukraine the bills on their possible political status as part of Ukraine, but Kiev does not see them. There is neither positive nor negative response to these proposals. Since last October there has been complete silence concerning the Donbass-drafted road map for comprehensive settlement of the conflict in conformity with the Minsk agreements. And not only does Ukraine keep silent, but also the Normandy format does. That is the problem," he concluded.

Earlier, Leonid Kravchuk, the head of Kiev’s delegation in the Contact Group and Ukraine’s first president, said that he did not rule out that the negotiations might be relocated from Belarus to "a neutral and democratic country" once it is impossible to hold talks in Minsk due to the protests that engulfed the country after last August’s presidential election.