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Russia is trying to disrupt Minsk talks on Donbas settlement, while recent statements by President Vladimir Putin are critical of the Minsk process, says head of the parliamentary committee on foreign policy Oleksandr Merezhko.

In an interview with RBC-Ukraine, answering the question on whether serious progress was made to allow holding the next Normandy Four summit anytime soon, Merezhko said: "Speaking of my subjective opinion, there used to be relative silence at the front, but in recent days, aggressive behavior of Russian occupation forces intensified."

These forces, the MP stresses, are controlled by Russia, while everything that is happening there is done either by order or with the consent of the Russian president.

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"This is, in a sense, an attempt to disrupt the Minsk process, and Putin's statements are also critical of the Minsk process. Russia may behave relatively calmly only under the powerful pressure of other countries, the USA, Europe – under the pressure of sanctions. Without such pressure, the degree of their aggressiveness always rises," he said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian President’s Office said the next stage of a prisoner swap to take back Ukrainians held in the occupied areas in Donbas could take place in the coming months.