Ukrainian president Poroshenko wants Ukraine-Russia talks in Belarus on access to MH17 crash site

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko smiles as he speaks during a news conference at the EU Council in Brussels. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko smiles as he speaks during a news conference at the EU Council in Brussels. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (AFP) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Tuesday asked Belarus to host talks between Russian and Ukrainian envoys to discuss access to the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

“Petro Porochenko contacted Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to offer to cooperate on organising a meeting in Minsk” on Thursday between Ukrainian ex-president Leonid Kuchma, Russian ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov and a representative of the European security body OSCE, the Ukrainian presidency said in a statement.

The talks in the Belarus capital would address “access by international experts to the site of the crash of Malaysia Airlines,” it said.

Heavy shelling in the region forced international experts to scrap plans to reach the MH17 crash site for a third consecutive day Tuesday.

The talks would also address “the release of all hostages” held by the eastern Ukraine separatists, the statement said.