Moscow open to possibility of exchanging ambassadors with Kyiv

In an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is not opposed to the idea of sending an ambassador to Kyiv.

In December 2015, Kyiv recalled its ambassador from Moscow, with no plans to reassign him.

“Ukraine recalled its ambassador and threatened to break off diplomatic relations. Now, however, it seems that someone there mentioned the possibility that Zelensky will decide to send the ambassadors back. We would not be opposed to that,” said Lavrov.

He spoke about his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko during the Normandy summit in Paris.

“I have met my current Ukrainian colleague Prystaiko in person on one occasion – at the Normandy summit in Paris in December 2019. There was a kind of pause, we greeted each other, exchanged a few sentences. We have actually not had any more occasions to maintain contact, because for obvious reasons there is no talk of bilateral meetings or of visiting each other. It’s not because of us...” said Lavrov.

“Even under the current circumstances, our countries are very much interconnected in economics, in the area of transport, in humanitarian affairs, and in family ties. And, of course, it’s unwise to constantly be imposing barriers, first to air traffic, then to railway transport, and even simply to interaction. If someone has gone to Crimea, that’s it – the person will be crossed off the list of people with whom the Ukrainians can not merely shake hands, but even meet. It’s savagery, national radicalism,” the Russian minister remarked.

On February 23, 2014, Russia recalled its ambassador to Kyiv, Mikhail Zurabov, who had worked in that capacity in Ukraine since 2009. Russia’s chargé d’affaires in Ukraine was then Andrey Vorobyev, but he died on May 30, 2016. Since November 2016, Alexander Lukashik has served as Russia’s chargé d’affaires.

In March 2014, Ukraine recalled its ambassador to Russia Volodymyr Yelchenko. Since 2015, Ruslan Nimchynsky has served as Ukarine’s chargé d’affaires.

In 2016, then Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said that the matter of appointing a new ambassador to Russia had been taken off the agenda at Ukraine’s initiative.

  Kyiv, Russia, Ukraine