Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a new meeting of
officials from France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine who are trying to mediate a peace agreement in Ukraine.
Lavrov said on March 19 he had already been in touch with the foreign ministers of France and Germany to urge a new round of talks take place as early as next week "to prevent the situation from deteriorating."
Lavrov's call comes after Ukraine's parliament voted on March 17 to confer special status on rebel-controlled eastern regions and grant them limited self-rule, but only after local elections are held under Ukrainian law.
The pro-Russian separatists and the Kremlin say the legislation violates the terms of a cease-fire agreement reached on February 12 in Minsk.