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Kuleba at meeting with French experts, journalists denies Russian fakes on alleged preparation of Ukraine offensive in Donbas

KYIV. Nov 25 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, at a closed online discussion with experts of leading French analytical centers in the field of foreign policy and journalists of key French publications denied fakes spread by Russia that Ukraine is allegedly preparing an offensive operation in Donbas.

"We insist on the need for an honest discussion of four countries of the Normandy format to revive the process of peaceful settlement. Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France must sit down at the negotiating table. It is preferably to be done at the level of the leaders of the countries," Kuleba said, the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reported.

The minister stressed that all the efforts of Ukraine and partners are aimed at restraining Russia from further aggressive actions. At the same time, he assured: no one should have doubts that, in the case of a new stage of full-scale aggression of the Russian Federation, Ukraine will be protected by all available means.

At the same time, he recalled that French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky made a number of proposals to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin with an invitation to hold the Normandy format summit. The Russian side never agreed on the summit, nor to meet the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian attached a maximum effort to attract the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the meeting. If he agreed, I would be ready to spend a frank conversation with him how to bring the Minsk process from a dead end, into which Russia led it," added Kuleba.

The minister noted the inviolability of the principle of "first security" and recalled that Minsk agreements begin with an item on a comprehensive ceasefire.