Kiev hopes to settle relations with Russia diplomatically

Ukraine is not abandoning the hope to preserve good neighborly relations with Russia and Russians, Ukraine's Acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsa said.

Ukraine is not abandoning the hope to preserve good neighborly relations with Russia and Russians, Ukraine's Acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsa said.

"We would like to have good neighborly relations with all our neighbors, including Russia. That is the reason why we are still keeping the option of a diplomatic dialogue with Russia, keeping the possibility of direct contacts between Ukrainian and Russian leaders," he said at a Saturday briefing.

Ukraine is also retaining the option of "good relations with the Russian people in the future," he said. "We understand that whatever happens, geographically we shall live side by side and we must develop such relations in the future," Deshchytsa added.

Crimea is part of Ukraine, "we shall not give away Crimea to anyone," he said.

Kiev considers it necessary to promptly set up a contact group to settle the Crimean conflict, he said. "The contact group must be organized as soon as possible," Deshchytsa said.

The formation of this group, involving Russia and Ukraine, as well as international mediators, was discussed during Paris consultations with international partners, he said.

"At the same time, it is a very unclear proposal since the question of who will make up this contact group has not been decided," Deshchytsa said.

Ukraine is ready to consider various forms of participation in this group, he said.

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