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Talks similar to Surkov-Volker dialogue should not substitute Normandy format — Kremlin

The Normandy format is self-sufficient, and the work in it should continue, Dmitry Peskov pointed

MOSCOW, June 17. /TASS/. Efforts to recreate a mechanism of consultations on Ukraine based on dialogue between Russian Presidential Representative Vladislav Surkov and US Special Envoy Kurt Volker held a few years ago should not substitute or complement the Normandy format, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday.

"It was stated at yesterday’s summit that such practice of information exchange in a very complex process is more positive as a whole and merits attention. That is why, it was said that such a process of consultations could be resumed, given mutual readiness, but this should not in any way substitute or complement or refine the Normandy format," Peskov said, responding to a question about whether Russia and the US could restart their dialogue on Ukraine.

"The Normandy format is self-sufficient, and the work in it should continue. The Minsk Accords are a cornerstone of the Normandy format," the Russian presidential spokesman added.

Replying to a question about whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had the desire to meet with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky after the Russia-US summit in Geneva on June 16, Peskov noted that the Russian leader was ready to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart as before but no specific steps had been taken to prepare this event yet. "Earlier, President Putin already stated his readiness to meet with President Zelensky. He spoke about that himself, publicly. I am sure that nothing has changed in this regard," the Kremlin spokesman added.

"But as we know, no specific steps towards organizing such an encounter have been taken," Peskov said.

The Kremlin press secretary stated earlier on Thursday that the issue of recreating the mechanism of dialogue following the example of the Surkov-Volker communication had been discussed by the Russian and US leaders at their summit in Geneva. The channel of communication between Russia and the United States on Ukraine was maintained by Surkov and Volker but ceased to function, when Volker left the post of US Special Representative for Ukraine in 2019. In 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed Surkov from office. Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Dmitry Kozak now oversees the Ukraine issue in the Kremlin.