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Possibility of talks between presidents was discussed with Ukrainian top diplomat — Lavrov

According to Sergey Lavrov, Kiev sought meetings in the past years but avoided implementing its obligations

ANTALYA /Turkey/, March 10. /TASS/. The possibility of talks between the presidents of Russia and Ukraine was discussed at Thursday’s meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, Russian top diplomat Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following the meeting, which also involved Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"President Putin has never refused to hold contacts, we only want to be sure that contacts aren’t held for the sake of contacts but seek to formalize specific agreements. We touched upon this issue today, Mr. Kuleba brought it up <...> and I reminded him that we always stand for meetings provided that we can achieve added value and resolve issues," Lavrov pointed out.

According to him, Kiev sought meetings in the past years but avoided implementing its obligations. "You must remember that when the Minsk Agreements were completely blocked by Kiev, [Ukrainian President] Zelensky kept saying: ‘Let’s meet, let’s meet again at last.’ When we pointed out to our colleagues that a Normandy Four summit had been held in Paris in December

2019, the decisions that had been made there had been directed at Kiev but none of them had been implemented, they once again started calling for another meeting," Lavrov stressed.

He added that Putin had not rejected the possibility of a meeting with Zelensky but such talks should be thoroughly prepared. "There is a need for preparations, they are underway in terms of the Belarus-hosted negotiations, three rounds of talks have taken place, Ukraine received our totally specific proposals and promised to give specific responses, so we are waiting for them," the Russian top diplomat emphasized.

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics. The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territories and the goal was to demilitarize and denazify the country.