Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia advocates harmonization of ties between Ukraine and the Customs Union, the free trade zone of the CIS and the EU on economic issues.
"We would like to search for ways of harmonization with regard to Ukraine and the Customs Union and with the free trade zone of the CIS, and with the European Union in the sphere of economy," Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow.
"We believe that with goodwill and the wish to be guided by the rules of the WTO and other rules of international law arising from signed and existing agreements, one can agree on all these issues," ITAR-TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
Meanwhile, the day before the meeting between representatives of Ukraine, the European Union and the Eurasian Three in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, which Russian and Ukrainian presidents Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko will also attend, the Kremlin does not exclude a possibility of a separate bilateral meeting between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine. For the time being, it remains unknown whether such a meeting could take place at all, though.
"At the meeting, if it takes place at all, we expect, in the first place, to have an open discussion on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, and on the humanitarian situation," Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said, Interfax reports.
"There are many topics for discussion. It goes about the discussion of the Ukrainian crisis, the terrible humanitarian catastrophe in the east of the country and the need for cease-fire," Peskov said.
At the same time, Peskov added, "it is difficult to expect that the presidents will be able to discuss the broad agenda at the meeting." When asked whether the Russian side was ready to discuss the gas issue in the format, Peskov said: "Of course, the gas issue is an important part of the agenda of our bilateral relations."
The official spokesman for the Russian president emphasized that it goes about a possibility of a bilateral meeting between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine.
In turn, Poroshenko said earlier that he was going to Minsk to negotiate peace as "everyone is tired of the war."
The meeting of the heads of states of the Customs Union and President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will take place on August 26 in Minsk. During the summit, a series of bilateral meetings will be held. It was said that the participants of the summit will discuss issues related to the implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, issues of energy security and the stabilization of the crisis in the Donbass region of Ukraine.
According to the military expert Igor Korotchenko, after the end of the battle for Donbass, the third stage of the military special operation will begin.