Lavrov: Ukrainian presidential candidates should involve themselves in crisis settlement talks

Sergei Lavrov file photo

MOSCOW. April 8 (Interfax) – Presidential candidates nominated by Ukrainian political parties may represent eastern and southern Ukraine at multilateral consultations about the Ukrainian crisis settlement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“Practically all the leading political forces have nominated and approved presidential candidates; no matter how one may feel about these presidential elections. After all, the candidates approved by political parties represent legitimate political forces of the Ukrainian state,” he said after negotiations with Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Chikoti.

“Definitely, I am not talking about all candidates – more than 20 of them [have been nominated] – but it is quite possible to single out a group of leading politicians from leading political parties and leading regions who can be invited to the multilateral meetings and encouraged by foreign actors – Russia, the European Union and the United States – to finally start a national dialogue with the Kyiv authorities or to launch a process, which will lead to a national dialogue,” the minister added.

“This approach and the designation of Ukrainian participants to this process will fully meet the joint statement [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry and I adopted in Paris on March 30,” Lavrov said.

“I do not think that the oligarchs appointed as regional governors can be worthy representatives of southern and eastern Ukraine,” Lavrov added.