Upcoming Lavrov-Kuleba meet key to talks

Moscow, March 9 ( /Sputnik) The upcoming meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba is “an important part” of the negotiation process between Moscow and Kyiv, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday. Lavrov and Kuleba plan to meet on Thursday in Turkey. “The meeting of the foreign ministers is a very important continuation of the negotiation process. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, let’s wait for the meeting itself,” Peskov told reporters. Moscow’s demands during talks with Kyiv include recognition of Crimea as part of Russia, Peskov said, adding: “Donbas republics are independent states.” The spokesman said Crimea should be recognized as Russian regions “de facto and de jure,” adding that the same applies to recognition of Donbass republics as independent countries. The spokesman also said that Russia is interested in holding more rounds of talks with the Ukrainian side. Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a number of international telephone calls on Wednesday, Peskov said. “Today he has a very busy schedule in terms of international telephone calls. Telephone diplomacy continues and is very active. A number of conversations are scheduled for today. He has just had a conversation with the President of Senegal,” he said. The Kremlin is aware of the UN data on casualties in Ukraine but is not sure how reliable they are, Peskov said. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 474 civilians have died in Ukraine and 861 injured during the ongoing conflict. “European leaders unanimously recognise that Russia is fulfilling its obligations under all existing treaties and contracts without interruption and in full,” Peskov said. The US is waging an economic war against Russia, he added, noting that Moscow must do whatever it can to win the war. /SPUTNIK MYK MR

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