Putin agrees to let German, French specialists in Kerch Strait - Lavrov
Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel's request for sending German and French specialists to the Kerch Strait, according to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"Over a month ago, Chancellor Merkel asked President Putin to allow German specialists to visit the Kerch Strait and see how the passage through those waters was being conducted with due account of security regulations. [...] President Putin granted the request right away," Lavrov said at a press conference after talks with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Merkel asked some time later for French specialists accompanying German ones, and Putin also agreed to do that, he said.
According to Lavrov, he had received a proposal from Maas "which 'wraps' this simple trip into a certain document that requires coordination with Ukraine."
"We said honestly that if our colleagues were interested in doing what President Putin had promised to Chancellor Merkel, they could do so today, tomorrow, any time. But if the idea is to create some political procedure, in which the Ukrainian side is entitled to making certain decisions, we are running the risk of repeating the situation, which the Normandy format found itself in with the Steinmeier formula," Lavrov said.