Moscow and Washington have taken a break in contacts concerning efforts to resolve the situation in Ukraine, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said in an interview with TASS.
"We have taken some kind of a break," the senior diplomat said. "However, Russia expects that the break will not be a long one," he added.
According to Karasin, Moscow is interested in resuming contacts with Washington. "But for that to happen both sides should have the same aspirations," the deputy foreign minister stressed.
In response to a question about a new meeting between Russian Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker, Karasin said that its date "has not been set yet."
Ukraine’s authorities have not provided any guarantees for safe working conditions for Russian officers in the Joint Center for Control and Coordination of the ceasefire, a key demand for resuming their work, he went on.
"Now besides general deliberations and appeals, there are no particular commitments on ensuring normal and safe operation of our military in the JCCC format," the diplomat said.
"We believe that general words and pledges won’t help in this case, there should be special legally binding commitments of the Ukrainian side," he stressed. "This is an important condition for this structure to resume its activity in the previous format," he said.
The decision to set up the Joint Center for Control and Coordination, tasked to monitor the ceasefire and stabilize the situation in the region, was made at a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group for resolving the situation in eastern Ukraine on October 2, 2014. The Center comprised officers from the Russian and Ukrainian Armed Forces, as well as representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.
Normandy Quartet meeting
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel may touch upon the possibility to hold a summit of the Normandy Quartet countries (Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine) at their meeting set to be held in Sochi on May 18, he said.
"Clearly, the upcoming meeting between our president and Merkel is sure to pay attention to these issues," the senior diplomat said in response to a question on the matter. "However, we are yet to see what agreements will be made at the meeting. It is difficult to predict anything," he added.
The Normandy platform for talks on resolving the Ukrainian crisis was set up in June 2014, when the first meeting between the leaders of the four countries took place in the French region of Normandy. Since then, a number of summits and telephone conversations have been held, as well as meeting between foreign ministers.
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