Path to peace in Donbas lies in talks - Rinat Akhmetov's press secretary

Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov believes that a path to peace in Donbas should be looked for through talks, Akhmetov's spokesperson Anna Terekhova said in comments to Interfax-Ukraine in reply to a question about the Thursday publication by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which looks into the 2014 crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, of the transcripts of intercepted phone calls between Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov and Alexander Borodai, who headed the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) in 2014.

During a phone call, dated July 2014, Surkov mentions a meeting with "Rinat" and says that this person refused to take part in Donbas talks on the DPR's side.

"We don't comment on third persons' telephone conversations. However, we'd like to stress that Mr. Akhmetov had thousands of meetings - public and not public - with politicians, businesspeople, and public figures, and at each of those meetings he invariably called for resolving the conflict at the negotiating table. Furthermore, he's continuing to do so today, because Donetsk, Donbas, is in his heart forever, and he sees it happy only within united Ukraine. Mr. Akhmetov is confident that the most important thing for all is to reach peace, which should be sought for at the negotiating table," Terekhova said.