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Russia tells West that Kiev must abide by commitments

Source: Reuters - Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:22 GMT
Author: Reuters
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MOSCOW, April 21 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his U.S. and German counterparts on Monday the government in Kiev must refrain from violence and abide by an agreement reached last week to cool tensions in Ukraine.

In a phone call, Lavrov urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to "influence Kiev, not let hotheads there provoke a bloody conflict, and impel the current Ukrainian leadership to fulfil its obligations unflaggingly," the foreign ministry said.

The Russian statement was issued shortly after the State Department said Kerry, in the call with Lavrov, had urged Russia to help implement the agreement reached on Thursday between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have ignored the agreement's calls to stop occupying buildings. But Lavrov's message was that the onus is on the Kiev government and the West to make the deal to de-escalate tension in Ukraine work.

He told Kerry the agreement was threatened by "the inability and lack of desire of the Kiev authorities to put an end to violent acts by ultranationalists ... and to end arrests and free activists of the protest movement in southeastern Ukraine."

In a separate conversation with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Lavrov "underlined the need for the strict and comprehensive fulfilment of the points of the Geneva declaration by the authorities in Kiev," the statement said. (Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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