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Putin plans to take part in Normandy Four talks first time in a year

THe Russian president’s decision to take part in the meeting was unrelated to the escalation of the situation in Ukraine

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Berlin on October 19 to take part in the meeting of the Normandy Four group, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Tomorrow the president will go to Berlin where he will hold talks with Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko," Peskov told reporters.

Militia commander murder

The official stressed that Putin’s decision to take part in the meeting was unrelated to the escalation of the situation in Ukraine.

"No, one cannot say so, although indeed the security situation along the line of demarcation leaves a lot to be desired, and provocations continue. All this is not conducive to finding solutions to the crisis," he said when asked whether Putin’s decision to take part in the Berlin meeting stemmed from the deterioration of the situation after the murder of one of the militia leaders in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Arseny Pavlov, known as Motorola.

Pavlov was killed in the evening on October 16 when an explosive device went off in a Donetsk residential house.

DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko noted that the murder was "a challenge to the entire republic." He put the blame for Pavlov’s death on Ukraine’s intelligence services officers who, according to Zakharchenko, "are on the DPR territory illegally" and accused the Ukrainian president of "violating the truce."

Situation is complex

The Kremlin believes that Kiev’s calls for forcing Moscow into compliance with the Minsk Accords indicate how complex the situation is.

"Take a look at the Ukrainian presidential website and you will read there that Poroshenko, Merkel and Hollande have agreed to hold a Normandy format meeting on October 19 for the purpose of forcing Russia into compliance with the Minsk Accords," Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. "That this wording has been used on the Ukrainian presidential website merely indicates how complicated the situation is and to what degree Kiev is not ready to honor with its own obligation sunder the Minsk Accords.

The press secretary stressed that Vladimir Putin is ready to do everything to push forward the Minsk process on the Ukrainian conflict settlement within the Normandy Four format.

"Despite this [Kiev’s reluctance to implement Minsk agreements], President Putin remains open and ready for talks, ready to do everything possbile and necessary to push forward the process within the Normandy Four format," Peskov said.

Syria at the meeting

Syria won’t be discussed at the talks, Peskov added.

"The president is open to discuss the Syrian issue with everyone, he said about this just yesterday. But the goal of tomorrow’s meeting is talks in the Normandy format," Peskov said.

The Kremlin spokesman gave no details if bilateral talks of Putin with his counterparts were on the agenda besides the four-party meeting, which will discuss the Ukrainian settlement.

"The decision on holding the meeting was finalized just two or three hours ago. So it is difficult to say now if separate meetings are due to be held. One way or another, the leaders will meet and have a possibility to talk to each other in various formats," he explained.