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Lavrov, Kerry Discuss Ukraine Conflict, Iran Nuclear Talks

Russia says its foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has discussed the Ukraine crisis and the push for a deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Kerry called Lavrov on November 12.

It said Lavrov stressed the need for "direct dialogue between Kyiv and Donetsk and Luhansk in the context of the elections that took place there."

The wording reflected Russian support for elections held on November 2 by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Ukraine and the West said the votes were illegitimate and violated a September 5 truce deal.

The ministry said Kerry and Lavrov spoke of the need to swiftly reach a deal with Iran to eliminate concerns about its nuclear program.

Iran and six global powers including Russia and the United States have set a November 24 deadline for a deal, but serious hurdles remain.

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