U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker says he is scheduled to hold a new round of talks with Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov in Dubai on Jan. 26.

Volker told VOA’s Ukrainian Service that he will arrive in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday and stop in Kyiv on Thursday, before heading to Dubai to discuss the war in eastern Ukraine and prospects for the introduction and possible format of the peacekeeping mission.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin, who confirmed the meeting at a Monday press conference, said he’s eager to see how talks go after Washington’s recent unveiling of new sanctions against Russia.

Kyiv, he said, is curious to see “how we can use new U.S. sanctions” to forge some kind of sustainable peace plan.

Volker called his last meeting with Surkov in Belgrade last November “a step back.”

“It was a welcoming meeting and a positive discussion, but it was a step back,” he said, calling Russia unready to entertain the idea of introducing a United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Donbass.

“We will see what will happen at our next meeting,” he said.

This story originated in VOA’s Ukrainian Service.

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