05:17 GMT11 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Paris wants to hold a meeting of Normandy Four leaders on eastern Ukraine as soon as possible — either at the end of this month or in November, French Ambassador to Russia Sylvie Bermann said Monday.

    "It's on the basis of goodwill of all the parties, Russia and Ukraine, that we will be able to find a solution that in time will allow us to lift or ease sanctions. There is a window of opportunity, but it cannot last long, because Zelenskyy is open, he is flexible, he is seeking good relations with Russia but he starts being criticised. We want to have a Normandy format summit as soon as possible, either at the end of the month or in November", Bermann said at a Valdai Discussion Club meeting.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier in October that the date of the Normandy Four summit would be agreed within days, adding that he expected it to be this year, possibly in November. The format includes France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine and aims to resolve a conflict in eastern Ukraine, which has been ongoing since 2014 and prompted the European Union to impose sanctions on Russia.

    France Counts on Putin to Find Way to Convince Turkey to Stop Syria Operation

    The French ambassador to Russia continued by saying that Paris hopes that Russian President Vladimir Putin can find a way to persuade Ankara to stop its offensive in northeastern Syria, which may lead to the spread of terrorists held in prisons in the area.

    "Clearly current situation worries us for humanitarian reasons and at the same time because with the Turkish intervention there is spread of terrorists ... so we count on president Putin to find a way to convince the Turks to stop", Bermann said.

    The statement comes amid the ongoing Turkish Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria that started on 9 October. Airstrikes began that same day in the town of Ras al-Ain in Al Hasakah province, while the ground operations were launched shortly afterward. The Turkish offensive is part of Ankara's long-standing goal to clear its Syria-facing border area of Daesh* terrorists and Kurdish milititants, whom Ankara designate as terrorists.

    Russia has meanwhile said that Turkey should avoid any action that could hamper the efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

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