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Kremlin comments on US potentially funneling weapons to Kiev

The Kremlin spokesman blames Kiev for no progress in the Minsk deal implementation

MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Any steps inciting tension along the conflicting parties’ engagement line in the Donbass region will only further drive the parties further away from a political settlement in eastern Ukraine, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

The Russian presidential spokesman responded to a statement by US Special Envoy for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker about the possibility of US weapons supplies to Kiev.

‘We have said on many occasions that any steps that would whip up tension at the disengagement line and generally provoke an already uneasy situation will only further distance us from settling this intra-Ukrainian issue," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Volker who made his first trip to Ukraine said earlier in an interview with the BBC that "defensive weapons would allow Ukraine to defend itself." At the same time, he said "that's a matter for further discussion and decision." Volker also said he believed that establishing peace in east Ukraine would require a new strategic dialogue with Russia.

Minsk deal

It is premature to speak about any progress towards settling the conflict in the east of Ukraine, the Minsk agreements have stalled because of Kiev’s inaction, Peskov told reporters commenting on a telephone conversation between the Normandy Four leaders (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine).

"The situation regarding the implementation of the Minsk agreements keeps stalling, and this is caused, as President Vladimir Putin noted (during the telephone conversation), by Kiev’s inaction," Peskov noted. He said the talks held can be called successful only from the point of view that the sides are demonstrating an initiative to keep on working," and "there is a great deal to do".

So far, unfortunately, it would be probably premature to state that there’s any progress," he summed up. The Kremlin press service had earlier reported that in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, the Russian leader familiarized them in detail with Russia’s stance.

Normandy Four summit

The spokesman said the decision on a Normandy Four summit will be made after a meeting between representatives of the leaders.

"Before deciding on a summit, there will be contacts at the level of the presidents’ aides. And it is after their contacts that conclusions will be drawn on the expediency of holding any contacts at a summit level," he added.

Peacekeepers in Donbass

Peskov said deployment of any peacekeeping forces at the contact line in Donbass can be possible only upon consent from all parties to the conflict, meaning Kiev and the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.

"As for deployment of any monitoring forces at the line of engagement, it is possible only upon consent from the parties to the conflict," he said. "As you know, Russia is not a party to that conflict."

After a telephone conversation between the Normandy Four leaders (Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia, Emmanuel Macron of France and Pyotr Poroshenko of Ukraine, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel) on Monday, the press service of the Ukrainian president published a press statement saying that Poroshenko had once again stressed "the importance of deploying a United Nations peacekeeping mission." The United Nations said later that they had not planned any peacekeeping operations in eastern Ukraine but were ready to make a positive contribution to the stabilization of the situation in Donbass.