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Russia's Lavrov Discusses Ukraine With French, German PMs


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has discussed the conflict in Ukraine with his French and German counterparts by telephone.

The Foreign Ministry said Lavrov spoke with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on January 8.

Representatives of the Germany, France, Russia, and Ukraine met in Berlin on January 5 to discuss efforts to end the conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, and the four nations' leaders may meet on January 15 in Kazakhstan.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that in the conversation between Lavrov and Steinmeier, "the need for the sides in the conflict to unweaveringly observe" the terms of a September 5 cease-fire deal was "noted."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says Russia is still sending military forces into Ukraine despite a September 5 deal on a cease-fire and steps toward peace.

Yatsenyuk demanded Moscow remove what he called its "bandits" from Ukraine.

Speaking alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their talks in Berlin, he said Russia has "sent troops to Ukraine's regions and continues sending its troops there."

"All this being done on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin," Yatsenyuk said.

Merkel said the Minsk agreement must be met in full for sanctions imposed on Russia to be lifted.

Russia denies involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine despite what Kyiv and NATO say is overwhelming evidence it has sent troops and weapons across the border to support pro-Russian separatists.

Yatsenyuk said that Russia "has not fulfilled a single point" of the Minsk agreement.

Theministry said Lavrov offered Fabius condolences over the deadly January 7 attack on a satirical weekly in Paris.

It said both believe the attack "confirms the need for further joint efforts in the fight against the terrorist threat."

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