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Moscow Ready to Expand Dialogue With Kiev, Western Mediation Not Needed Lavrov

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Direct contacts between Moscow and Kiev have never ceased, and Russia is ready to establish pragmatic and equal dialogue following the recent presidential election, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti) – Direct contacts between Moscow and Kiev have never ceased, and Russia is ready to establish pragmatic and equal dialogue following the recent presidential election, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

“Direct ties between Moscow and Kiev exist, they have never stopped. We will be ready, taking into account the will expression that took place, and the results that we respect, to establish a pragmatic and equal dialogue on the basis that exists, I mean the implementation of all agreements including on trade, economy and gas issues,” Lavrov said.

Moscow is ready for dialogue with Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko, who leads the Ukrainian presidential election with over 50 percent of votes, but not with Western mediation, Lavrov said.

“We, as the president had repeatedly said, are ready for dialogue with Kiev representatives, ready for dialogue with Petro Poroshenko,” the Russian foreign minister said. “I only want his declared readiness for dialogue to have no preconditions, like, for example, he previously mentioned he will be ready for dialogue under the mediation of the European Union and the United States.”

Russia has noted Poroshenko’s statement that his first visit in case of victory will be to Donbass in Eastern Ukraine, Lavrov said.

“We have noticed Petro Poroshenko’s statement saying that his first visit from in Kiev in case of his victory in the presidential election will be to Donbass. We always support the establishing of real dialogue between those who have the power in Kiev and all the regions in Ukraine, and we are convinced that this is the key for the settlement of the deepest crisis in Ukraine, [the crisis] we are witnessing,” Lavrov said.

Poroshenko, dubbed Ukraine’s “chocolate king” by Forbes magazine, said on Sunday he would present a range of laws on the settlement of the situation in the crisis-hit country.

The May 25 early presidential election came amid a large-scale military operation launched by the new Kiev authorities to crack down on protesters refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the government.

Twenty-one candidates ran in the race. With 60.15 percent of ballots counted by Monday afternoon, billionaire Poroshenko was leading in the race, with 53.72 percent of the vote.

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