8 Jun 2022 12:54

Lavrov on prospects of Putin-Zelensky meeting: Negotiating teams need to resume their work first

MOSCOW. June 8 (Interfax) - Negotiating teams need to resume their work before a possible meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky can be discussed, and the ball is in Kyiv's court, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"As for a meeting between Mr. Zelensky and the Russian president, we have explained on multiple occasions that Zelensky is seeking a meeting as an end in itself; he's fickle as the wind. He repeatedly said before he would hold talks, and that the talks would be resumed only if the Russian contingents are pulled back to the line that existed on February 24. This approach is absolutely not serious, besides, it contravenes the initiatives put forward by the Ukrainian delegation here, in Istanbul, on March 29," Lavrov said at a press conference in Ankara.

"We see a number of such changes in stance every day, so we believe that negotiating teams should resume their work first. The ball has been in Ukraine's court for almost two months, since the middle of April, and they changed the stance they presented in Istanbul before that," Lavrov said.

"Compared to the previous weeks, we can say we are observing a more positive atmosphere," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, for his part. "If both sides are ready to show trust, we are ready to take a constructive approach to the matter, as was done [at the Russia-Ukraine talks] in Antalya," he said.

Ankara "is ready to do everything possible and as much as it can to help the negotiating process begin," Cavusoglu said.