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Kremlin hails developments in Russia-Ukraine relations

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov praised recent agreements on Donbass ceasefire

Elena Teslova   | 18.07.2019
Kremlin hails developments in Russia-Ukraine relations


Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Thursday praised agreements reached by the conflicting sides of the Ukrainian issue.

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, consisting of representatives from Ukraine, Russia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, agreed in Minsk on Wednesday on "a summer ceasefire" in Donbass region of Ukraine.

Besides, the group which was formed to facilitate a diplomatic resolution to the war in Donbass agreed to prepare for an exchange of detainees and reconstruct a bridge, joining the line of demarcation.

"We really appreciate the results that were achieved in Minsk yesterday. This is important. We hope that this agreement will be supported by concrete actions to ensure a non-resumption of fire and a comprehensive ceasefire. And in this case, the main thing is that the two presidents (Russian and Ukrainian) during a telephone conversation confirmed their intention to seek ways for dialogue in solving problematic and acute issues," he said.

Commenting on remarks by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky about release of the Ukrainian sailors, captured during Russian-Ukrainian confrontation in the Kerch Strait last year, Peskov said the release of the editor-in-chief of the Russian state-run news agency RIA Novosti, Kirill Vyshinsky, would be "a positive step".

"Of course, the return of Vyshinsky would be a great first step. In general, any step to free people is welcomed," he said.

Late November 2018, Russia seized two Ukrainian navy ships and a navy tugboat along with 24 crew members for entering its waters in the Kerch Strait, and provoking conflict.

Kirill Vyshinsky, editor-in-chief of RIA Novosti's Ukraine branch, was arrested in Kiev by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on charges of treason in 2018.

Peskov also added that the idea of "all for all" exchange of detainees was discussed during Vladimir Putin-Voldymyr Zelensky phone talk, but Moscow and Kiev understand the word ''all'' in different ways and it needs clarification.

"We are talking about the difference of the word 'all' to people. In Kiev, it is considered as 'such' while it is perceived as 'others' in Russia," he said, refusing to talk about the personalities.

Peskov said no bilateral meeting of Putin and Zelensky is planned.

The spokesman said he expected development in solution of "problematic issues" after the parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

He also expressed concern that Ukrainian political powers could manipulate exchange of detainees and ceasefire in Donbass during their campaigns.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held the first phone talk with his recently elected Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky last Thursday.

The two presidents discussed issues of a settlement in the southeast of Ukraine and cooperation in exchange of detainees.

Russia and Ukraine have been at loggerheads since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum.

Turkey, as well as the UN General Assembly, viewed the annexation as illegal.

Ukraine has also blamed Kremlin for separatist violence in eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.

The situation aggravated after the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board, including 28 Australians.

Kiev put responsibility on the pro-Russian militants in Donbass. In turn, Moscow accuses Ukraine of shooting down the plane.

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