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Lavrov expresses concern to German counterpart over embassy attack

MOSCOW, June 15, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a telephone conversation on Sunday with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, “expressing special concern over an attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev and the reaction to this of Western partners, who refused to denounce this barbarous act within the framework of the UN Security Council,” the ministry reports.

The two ministers also touched upon the problem of gas talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Council that had been discussed at a three-party telephone conversation on Saturday between Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande. Lavrov and Steinmeier also discussed the situation around the signing of the association agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.

“The ministers also exchanged views on the current situation in Ukraine,” the ministry said. “The sides stressed that first step towards the normalization of the situation in that country must be the soonest cessation of the combat operation in the country’s southeastern regions and establishing truce.”

Meanwhile France prepares a statement in connection with an attack on the Russian embassy in Kiev.

“France regrets and denounces the manifestations, as a result of which damage was caused to the Russian embassy in Kiev,” the French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said in an official statement after a telephone talk with Sergei Lavrov.

“It is important that the security of diplomatic missions be ensured,” Fabius said.

The French foreign minister said he had discussed the need of violence de-escalation in eastern Ukraine.

“I stressed that the most important thing is to create conditions for a ceasefire, considering that the situation in the east of the country remains extremely unstable,” Fabius said.

“The presence of heavy armaments in the area is an extra cause for concern from this viewpoint,” the French foreign minister said.

Fabius said he had agreed with his Russian counterpart to “keep constant contact with a view to reach real de-escalation and ceasefire.”

Clashes have been underway between the Ukrainian military and militias in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which refused to recognize the authorities who had been propelled to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

A Kiev-led punitive operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine's east that involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation has already claimed hundreds of lives, including civilians, and left some buildings destroyed and damaged.

The Donetsk and Lugansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. Their independence has not been officially recognized.

Russia has repeatedly called on Kiev to end the punitive operation and engage in dialogue with Ukraine’s east.

New Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who won the May 25 early presidential elections and took office on June 7, has not given orders to stop the deadly operation.