Russia to Participate in Contact Group If Kiev Agrees to Convene Meeting With DPR, LPR, Source Says

© Sputnik / Viktor Tolochko / Go to the mediabankUkraine Contact Group meets in Minsk
Ukraine Contact Group meets in Minsk - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.02.2022
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - If Kiev manages to agree with the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to hold Contact Group talks on the Donbass crisis, Russia will also participate in the negotiations, a Moscow source familiar with the matter told Sputnik.
"If Kiev and Donbass [Ukraine’s southeast] agree to convene a meeting of the CG [contact group], Russia, of course, will also participate in it," the source said, adding that "the functions of a mediator oblige this."
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron held telephone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at the French side's initiative. The presidents agreed on trilateral contact group (Russia, Ukraine, OSCE - Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) talks on Ukraine to be held on Monday, according to media reports.
The Elysee Palace said that Macron has proposed that Putin and US President Joe Biden hold a joint summit, and both sides have accepted the idea in principle. According to the French presidency, the agenda of the summit is to be prepared by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their upcoming meeting on 24 February. The White House said that Biden had agreed to the idea of meeting with Putin, provided that there is no "invasion" of Ukraine.
Moscow has repeatedly denied Western claims of Russia’s alleged preparations for an "invasion" of Ukraine, emphasizing that it is not threatening anyone and at the same time expressing strong concerns over NATO's military activity near the Russian borders. The LPR and DPR announced the evacuation of their citizens to Russia’s Rostov Region on Friday amid fears of an attack by Ukrainian forces. DPR head Denis Pushilin said on Friday that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy would soon order an offensive against Donbass.
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