International talks on Ukraine crisis held near Minsk

A round of trilateral talks on the ongoing Ukraine crisis was held at the Zaslawye government residence near Minsk on July 31.

As a source in Belarusian diplomatic circles told BelaPAN, the talks were attended by former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, as well as Mikhail Zurabaw, the Russian ambassador to Ukraine, and Heidi Tagliavini, a representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The Belarusian government refused to release any details of the meeting and it was not immediately known whether representatives of pro-Russian separatists were taking part.

The Ukrainian Presidential Administration said on Wednesday that President Petro Poroshenko had asked Belarus to host a meeting between Russian, Ukrainian and European negotiators on July 31.

The talks are reportedly expected to focus on the release of all hostages by pro-Russian militants in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk provinces and access by international experts to the site of the crash of the Malaysian Airlines' Boeing that was shot down by a missile in the Donetsk province earlier this month.