MOSCOW, July 28 (RIA Novosti) — Moscow hopes the Kiev government will launch negotiations with eastern Ukraine’s independence supporters soon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
"I'm sure that direct talks — I hope they will begin very soon — will not stall because of the problem of who represents who [at the talks]," Lavrov said.
The top Russian diplomat said he also hoped that authorities in Kiev would not attempt to blame the lack of dialogue with independence supporters in the east on the militia.
"There's no problem finding negotiators in the southeastern regions to represent the militia," the foreign minister underscored.
Two rounds of trilateral talks between representatives of the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east and Kiev officials were held in June, when a contact group, including Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov, two OSCE officials and former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma met to discuss the possible de-escalation of the ongoing conflict.
The talks came after Moscow’s repeated calls for Kiev to immediately halt its ongoing military campaign and resolve the conflict through a peaceful dialogue.
Reaching a peace treaty became a near impossibility earlier in July following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, with the Kiev government and militia blaming each other for what appears to have been a tragic mistake. On July 19, the rivals agreed to create a security zone around the crash site, bringing new hope for peace in the war-torn region.