Ukraine claims readiness to negotiate with Russia, comply with Minsk Accords

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KIEV – Jun 5, 2019 – Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky expressed the readiness of his country to negotiate with Russia and comply with the Minsk Accords.

“We are ready to negotiate with Russia and comply with the Minsk Accords,” he said at the end of his meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels.

However, Zelensky pointed out that Ukraine must first be able to “defend and strengthen itself in the economic, political and military spheres.”

The Ukrainian president recalled that next Wednesday there will be a meeting of the Contact Group for the Ukrainian crisis which will be attended by the Chief of Cabinet of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ruslan Jomchak.

“We are going to make a number of proposals on the return of the Minsk Accord, starting with a cease-fire,” he said, adding that the exchange of prisoners is an issue that will also be addressed.

In addition, the president said that the Ukrainian people need a breakthrough toward “high European standards of quality of life and safety“.

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“The aim of our reforms is to improve the quality of life of Ukrainians, eradicate corruption, modernize the state, all this is possible only if our security is guaranteed,” he said.

Zelensky was elected president of Ukraine on May 20.

Since April 2014, Ukraine has carried out an operation against militias in the eastern part of its territory – Donbass – where the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk have proclaimed themselves independent republics in response to the violent change of government in Kiev in February of the same year.

The Minsk Accords, signed in September 2014 and February 2015, laid the foundations for a political solution to the conflict, but has not so far resulted in the cessation of violence, with an estimated UN balance of some 13,000 dead, plus 1.3 million people displaced.

The Trilateral Contact Group (Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) has in the format of Normandy (Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine) the main consultation platform aimed at resolving the conflict between the government of Ukrainian militias and Donbass.

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