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During their conversation, which took place on Austria’s request, the sides stressed the importance of contribution to political settlement in Ukraine and compliance with the ceasefire regime.
“Putin and Faymann spoke for the soonest possible normalization of relations between Russia and the European Union,” the Kremlin said.
According to UN data, clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR), have resulted in some 3,000 deaths and massive destruction and forced hundreds of thousands to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.
The parties to the conflict agreed on cessation of fire during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Minsk on September 5. The long hoped-for ceasefire took effect the same day, but reports have said it has been violated several times.
Russia came under Western punitive measures, originally visa bans and asset freezes, for incorporation of Crimea in mid-March after a coup in Ukraine in February. Later, Western claims that Russia is taking part in hostilities in southeast Ukraine, which Moscow has repeatedly denied, resulted in more serious, sectoral restrictions.
In response, Moscow imposed on August 7 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the EU, the United States and Norway.