'Fundamental principles' must be respected to mediate Ukraine conflict, says Kuleba

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba attends a news conference in Odesa

By Catarina Demony

LISBON (Reuters) - Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday that every country could act as a mediator in the war between Moscow and Kyiv, but would have to follow what he called "fundamental principles".

Speaking at a news conference in Lisbon alongside his Portuguese counterpart Joao Gomes Cravinho, Kuleba said mediation efforts should "lead to the full restoration of Ukraine's territorial integrity" and should not "freeze the conflict".

"Everybody can play role if he or she respects these two principles and acts in good faith," Kuleba said when asked what he thought of an offer earlier on Friday by Saudi Arabia to "continue mediating efforts between Russia and Ukraine".

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was attending a summit of the Arab League in Saudi Arabia to canvas support for his people. He is also due to attend a summit of the G7 leaders in the Japanese city of Hiroshima this weekend.

G7 countries promised Zelenskiy further military and financial help.

Kuleba said the G7 countries were "close friends and partners" and there was "always a lot to discuss", including new sanctions against Russia, financial support for Ukraine and an aviation coalition.

Zelenskiy said he was making progress in persuading the West to supply Ukraine with fighter jets - with U.S.-built F-16s flown by several NATO nations in particular focus.

"When you fight a war you need weapons, you need allies, and you need money," Kuleba said.

Kuleba also said he expected a "meaningful step" towards NATO membership at the alliance's summit in Vilnius in July.

"NATO is an instrument to prevent wars, but what is unacceptable is when there is no movement at all on Ukrainian membership," he said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday the alliance would send a "strong signal of support" for Ukraine at the summit.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Leslie Adler)