Ukrainian president says ready for dialogue with Russia

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that he is ready for a dialogue with Russia over the Donbas crisis, the government-run Ukrinform news agency reported.

“We are ready for a conversation. If you don’t want to meet, let’s talk on the phone,” Zelensky said during a press marathon.

Ukraine is prepared to resolve the Donbas conflict not only within the framework of the Normandy format, but also in another parallel format with the involvement of the United States, Zelensky said.

He emphasized that Kiev is willing to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has been raging since April 2014, claiming some 14,000 lives.

In June 2014, the Normandy format, also known as the Normandy contact group, consisting of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France, was set up to resolve the conflict.

Relations between Kiev and Moscow have been deteriorating since early 2014 over their different stances on the developments in Donbas and Crimea.