MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow hopes that talks in Minsk, Belarus, on settling the situation in Ukraine will be mostly about a ceasefire, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
“I personally hope that talks scheduled for today will be mostly dedicated to the goal of agreeing an immediate unconditional ceasefire,” Lavrov said.
Trilateral talks among Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini will be held today in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. On Saturday, Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Purgin said that he is going to represent the self-proclaimed republic at the talks.
The last meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group on the Ukrainian conflict resolution was held on July 31. The envoys from Moscow, Kiev and the OSCE discussed steps toward a truce in the Ukrainian standoff and agreed to establish a safe route for investigators to access the site of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash in the Donetsk Region.
On August 26, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, as well as European Union officials had discussed the situation in Ukraine at a meeting in Minsk. They agreed that the crisis should be de-escalated in a nonviolent manner.
Kiev has been conducting a military operation in eastern Ukraine since mid-April. Moscow sees the operation as punitive and has repeatedly urged the Ukrainian government to put an end to it.