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Moscow Hopes for Positive Result of Direct Contacts Between Adversaries in Ukraine

© RIA Novosti . Alexei Danichev / Go to the photo bankVladimir Putin attends St. Petersburg International Economic Forum
Vladimir Putin attends St. Petersburg International Economic Forum - Sputnik International
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Russia hopes the direct contacts that have been launched in Ukraine between the country’s adversaries will lead to a positive result, but the most important condition to carry out this goal remains an end to violence, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

ST. PETERSBURG, May 23 (RIA Novosti) – Russia hopes the direct contacts that have been launched in Ukraine between the country’s adversaries will lead to a positive result, but the most important condition to carry out this goal remains an end to violence, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

“The negotiations are the end to any confrontations, and the soon they start as the better it is, that is why we have always pushed adversaries to start direct contacts. First contacts, including those with our direct participation, were held,” Putin said.

“We very much expect that these direct contacts that have just began will lead to some positive results. I very much hope for it. Undoubtedly, the cessation of violence – regardless of who is responsible for it – is a precondition,” Putin said.

He said that the Kiev government’s military operation in the southeast diminishes the possibility of talks, especially when the authorities are using artillery and armored vehicles against federalists.

Ukraine underwent a Western-backed regime change resembling a military coup in late February. The country’s parliament ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, changed the constitution and scheduled an early presidential election for May 25.

Following the refusal of the Russian-speaking southeast of Ukraine’s to recognize the legitimacy of Kiev’s new authorities, the Luhansk and Donetsk regions have seen violent clashes between government soldiers and protesters after the country’s interim government launched a large-scale military operation in mid-April. Both sides have suffered dozens of casualties.

The special operation is still under way even though the Ukrainian parliament approved a so-called memorandum of peace and consent earlier this week, which called on the return of troops stationed in eastern Ukraine to their permanent bases.

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