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Russian, German diplomats discuss de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine

May 18, 2014, 19:18 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier

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MOSCOW, May 18 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation on Sunday with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier to discuss the situation in Ukraine, pointing to a need to stop using the army against protesters, the Foreign Ministry reports.

The telephone conversation was initiated by Germany. The two ministers continued an exchange of opinions “on the situation and prospects for the development of the situation in Ukraine, possibilities for joint actions towards a political settlement of the conflict in line with the ‘road map’ offered by the Swiss OSCE Chair,” the ministry said.

“The ministers expressed concern over continuing armed clashes, and agreed with a need for an urgent de-escalation of the situation, renunciation of the use of force in order to avoid new casualties and to create favourable conditions for a truly comprehensive national dialogue on a constitutional reform in Ukraine,” it added.

“They marked the importance of round-table discussions with understanding that it was important to ensure due representation of the interests of the country’s southeast,” the ministry said.

It also quoted the top Russian diplomat as stressing that Kiev should stop using the armed forces against participants in the protests “as the Geneva statement of April 17 demands, as well as marking the role of a special monitoring mission of the OSCE in promoting at the sites of confrontation agreements on the substance and succession of practical moves towards defusing tensions”.

Lavrov also urged for “an independent, unbiased and open probe into a massacre in Odessa and other acts of violence against civilians, committed in Ukraine over the recent months”.

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