(QHA) -

Russia believes that the crisis in Ukraine could be solved next year if the country's politicians free themselves from Western influence, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview released on Monday.

"The crisis will continue as long as Ukrainians don't reach national consent without listening to masters from Brussels or Washington," Lavrov told the Interfax news agency.

His comments come after attempts to restart peace talks between the Western-backed government and pro-Russian separatists foundered last week, producing only a prisoner swap.

Separatist leaders said Monday that they were ready for fresh talks.

"We are ready to negotiate even on New Year's eve," Igor Plotsnitsky, the leader of the self-declared "Luhansk People's Republic" was quoted as saying by the lug-info.com news service.