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Face-to-face sessions of Contact Group to better situation in eastern Ukraine — Gryzlov

Boris Gryzlov stressed that Russia's proposal had received support from Donbass delegates and the OSCE's coordinator

MOSCOW, August 2. /TASS/. The resumption of face-to-face meetings of the Contact Group for a settlement in the east of Ukraine may help make the talks more productive, Russian envoy Boris Gryzlov said on Monday.

"The Contact Group's forthcoming meeting is due at the end of August. At the previous session, the Russian delegation came out with an initiative for holding the next meeting in Minsk face to face. Time is ripe for this. All opportunities are in place. The resumption of such a dialogue will help improve the situation in the region," Gryzlov said.

He stressed that Russia's proposal had received support from Donbass delegates and the OSCE's coordinator.

"There have been no objections from Kiev. The responsibility for the constructive continuation of the talks now rests entirely upon officials in Kiev," Gryzlov said.

He recalled that practically all realistic results of the talks between Kiev and Donbass, including those on the mutual release of held persons, the pullback of forces and weapons from certain sections of the disengagement line and on ceasefire were results of a direct dialogue and personal contacts.

"On the Minsk platform not only the Contact Group, but also the Normandy Quartet's leaders had an opportunity to meet," Gryzlov said.

He recalled that just recently the OSCE panel in the Contact Group had been renewed. The term of office of the new coordinator from the OSCE, Finnish diplomat Mikko Kinnunen, began on August 1. Gryzlov said this was another factor for the restoration of the original format of the dialogue.

Since March 11, 2020, the Contact Group has been holding all talks in a video conference mode due to the quarantine restrictions imposed amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The Contact Group's latest video conference was on July 21. The next one is scheduled for August 26.