26 Sep 2019 11:24

Zelensky gives details of his brief dialogue with Lavrov in New York

KYIV. Sept 26 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that he briefly spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a reception in New York on September 24.

"Mr. Lavrov approached me and said that he wanted to get acquainted. He said that they [Russia] very much want the war in Donbas to end, and he congratulated me on the exchange [of prisoners between Ukraine and Russia]. It was a very short conversation. We were standing in a line," Zelensky said at a press briefing in New York after a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Kyiv is doing all it can to put an end to the war in Donbas, the Ukrainian president said.

"This is our country. This is our land. And if you [Russia] are ready, then let's end this war, return our territories to us, and exchange people," he said of his conversation with Lavrov.

A source in the Office of the President of Ukraine told Interfax earlier that Zelensky had a brief conversation with Lavrov on September 24 at the latter's initiative to discuss preparations for a Normandy Format meeting.

"During a ceremonial reception on behalf of the U.S. president in New York, a brief dialogue took place at Lavrov's initiative. They briefly discussed the Normandy format," the source said.

The reception was attended by U.S. President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom Zelensky met on September 24, and other foreign leaders.