Paris and Berlin regret Russia’s absence from a meeting on Ukraine

France and Germany on Friday expressed “deep regret” over Russia’s absence from a meeting of senior French, German and Ukrainian officials held in Paris to study the situation in Ukraine.

“France and Germany regret that Russia did not attend the meeting,” which was held during the day, said French Foreign Ministry spokesman Roman Nadal.

“The Russian Federation should play a constructive role in implementing the Minsk agreements signed for a permanent and peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis,” he said.

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said Russia had warned in advance of its absence and was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying “we presented the French with our arguments and the reasons why we consider such a meeting to have been more effective with the necessary preparations.”

The latest ministerial meeting between Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France was held on February 18 on the sidelines of the security conference in Munich. Paris said the follow-up meeting Friday in Paris dealt with the areas of security, politics, economy,