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Lavrov says Russia wants to continue talks with Ukraine

Russia is ready to continue talks with Ukraine within the framework of the existing format in Belarus, but it is too early organise a summit meeting between the two countries' leaders, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks with his Bangladesh counterpart during their meeting in Moscow on April 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV

Russia is ready to continue talks with Ukraine within the framework of the existing format in Belarus, but it is too early organise a summit meeting between the two countries’ leaders, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

Russia’s top diplomat spoke in the Turkish resort town of Antalya after he and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held their first face-to-face talks after two weeks of war, amid international outrage over Moscow’s bombing of a children’s hospital.

“Today’s meeting has confirmed that the Russian-Ukrainian format in Belarus has no alternative,” Lavrov told a press conference after speaking to Kuleba.

Lavrov stressed that Russia wanted to see concrete results from talks.

“In recent years, after the anti-constitutional coup d’etat, the Ukrainian leadership has preferred meetings for the sake of meetings, preferred to imitate, simulate concrete decisions,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

He said that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was not against meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but added that first the two countries’ negotiators should lay the groundwork by conducting talks in Belarus.

“The Ukrainian side has taken our very concrete proposals, and promised us that there would be very concrete answers,” Lavrov said.

“We are waiting,” he added.

Ukrainian and Russian delegations have held three rounds of talks in Belarus, but the team sent by Russia to those talks is relatively low-ranking, without a minister. The main Russian negotiator is Vladimir Medinsky, a controversial Kremlin aide and former culture minister.

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