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Kiev categorically refused to return to Minsk to work offline — Russian envoy

Kiev says that the talks can no longer be held in Minsk because Ukraine did not recognize Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s presidential election victory in August 2020 to echo the West’s actions

MOSCOW, September 15. /TASS/. The Ukrainian delegation to the Trilateral Contract Group for the peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine has refused to resume talks in person in Minsk, Russia’s envoy Boris Gryzlov said on Wednesday following the latest videoconference of the group.

"We back the intention of the parties to the negotiations to return to personal meetings," he told reporters. "But Kiev has categorically refused to go back to working in Minsk."

Gryzlov emphasized that before the pandemic Minsk "met all the requirements of ensuring comprehensive participation of all parties to the Minsk format, especially Ukraine and separate areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions." "It is important to formulate specific proposals to address this situation," the envoy added.

The Russian delegation has repeatedly underlined that resuming in-person meetings will boost the efficiency of the talks. Almost all tangible results in the talks between Kiev and Donbass were achieved in direct personal dialogue, including detainee swaps, troop and hardware disengagement and ceasefires.

However, Kiev says that the talks can no longer be held in Minsk because Ukraine did not recognize Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s presidential election victory in August 2020 to echo the West’s actions.

Minsk last hosted in-person talks in March 2020. Since then, all contacts have been held via videoconference due to the coronavirus pandemic.