Putin: Kiev must hold talks with Donbas to restore Ukraine peace

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (right) and his Belarus counterpart Alexander Lukashenko attend a press conference following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on Feb 18, 2022. (MIKHAIL KILMENTYEV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

MOSCOW – Kiev authorities have to hold dialogue with representatives from Donbas to restore peace in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a briefing following talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow on Friday.

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"The President of Belarus and I agreed that the key to restoring civil peace in Ukraine… is the implementation of the Minsk agreements," Putin said.

The President of Belarus and I agreed that the key to restoring civil peace in Ukraine… is the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

 Vladimir Putin, Russian president

"All Kiev needs to do is sit down at the negotiating table with representatives of Donbas and agree on political, military, economic and humanitarian measures to end the conflict," he added, pointing out that there were growing tensions in the region.

Lukashenko in turn said that Belarus and Russia would work together on protecting their borders amid heightened tensions and increased weapon flows to Ukraine.

"Conducting military exercises was our common decision, which was determined by the situation, and we are conducting the exercises as transparently as possible on our territory," Lukashenko said.

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Putin said Russia and Belarus agreed to continue taking all necessary collective measures to ensure the security of the two countries in light of the growing military activities of NATO countries along the external borders of both states.