Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there is now a real chance to settle the Ukrainian conflict and Russia will continue seeking the full implementation of the Minsk agreements as part of talks in the Normandy format.
"Today there is indeed a chance for peaceful settlement based on the Minsk agreements. The provisions fixed in the February 12 Package of measures should be implemented fully and consistently," Lavrov told the participants of the World Coordination Board of Russian compatriots.
"The key condition is to establish a direct dialogue of the Ukrainian authorities with Lugansk and Donetsk," Lavrov stressed.
The Russian foreign minister also expressed concerns about the humanitarian situation in Donbass and namely the harmful economic blockade of the war-torn region.
"The answer to all these issues that are yet to be solved is found in the Minsk agreements," Lavrov said. "Russia will continue further doing the utmost, including based on the Normandy Quartet and jointly with other countries, to assist the search for an appropriate way out of the current situation," he said.
This agreement was in particular reached during the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Sochi earlier this month, Lavrov said. During the May 12 visit, Kerry met with his Russian counterpart and President Vladimir Putin.
"We expect that these agreements aimed at the full implementation of the Minsk agreements will be fulfilled," Lavrov said.
The agreement to stop hostilities in Ukraine’s southeast was brokered after the 16-hour marathon talks between the leaders of the Normandy Quartet countries - Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine.
The February 12 deal also envisages heavy weaponry withdrawal from the contact line, launching a dialogue on restoring social and economic ties between Kiev and Donbas, a constitutional reform in Ukraine aimed at decentralization and ensuring the special status of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and other measures.