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Russia Accuses Kyiv Of Ignoring Peace Deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused Ukraine's government of failing to implement the Minsk cease-fire agreement.

Lavrov, who was hosting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Moscow on March 23, told journalists that Kyiv's inaction was the main stumbling block to a peace settlement in Ukraine’s east.

The Minsk deal signed in February 2015 has helped reduce the fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, but skirmishes have continued.

Steinmeier urged both sides to comply with the terms of the agreement, warning of a possible escalation.

He also expressed hope a humanitarian solution could be found for Ukrainian military pilot Nadia Savchenko, who was sentenced on March 22 to 22 years in prison in Russia for her alleged involvement in the death of two Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.

Steinmeier also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks the German Foreign Ministry described as open and constructive.

The ministry said that security questions in eastern Ukraine and possible ways of making progress on them, as well as peace efforts in Syria, were among issues discussed.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and TASS

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