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    Lavrov Tells Kerry Conflict Sides in Ukraine Must Observe Minsk Agreements

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    Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone conversation Friday that the Kiev government and east Ukraine independence supporters must strictly observe agreements reached last month in the Belarusian capital Minsk.

    MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry in a phone conversation Friday that the Kiev government and east Ukraine independence supporters must strictly observe agreements reached last month in the Belarusian capital Minsk.

    “The head of the Russian foreign ministry stressed that the conflict sides must strictly observe the existing agreements on ceasefire, pullback of heavy weaponry and OSCE monitoring,” the ministry said in a statement.

    Lavrov also said that shelling of residential areas in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk, which has already claimed the lives of civilians and a foreign aid worker, must stop immediately.

    “Lavrov and Kerry agreed to continue intense contacts for detailed discussions on important issues on the international and bilateral agenda,” the statement reads.

    The shelling in Donetsk, which took place on Wednesday, left 26 people dead and 50 others injured, according to Andrei Purgin, the prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

    Late Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed that one of its delegates to Ukraine, Swiss citizen Laurent DuPasquier, was among the victims of the heavy artillery bombardment of central Donetsk.

    Moscow condemned the incident as a blatant violation of international humanitarian law and insisted on an objective and thorough investigation into the matter.

    Ukraine has been engulfed in a violent internal conflict since mid-April, when Kiev began its military operation against independence supporters in the southeastern regions of the country. The conflict claimed the lives of more than 3,500 people, according to the UN.

    The sides agreed on a ceasefire at a meeting of the Contact Group on Ukraine held in Minsk on September 5. Another meeting of the group on September 19 resulted in a memorandum, specifying implementation of the ceasefire, which involves the creation of a 30-kilometer (18-mile) buffer zone, withdrawal of all heave weapons from residential areas and the deployment of the OSCE monitoring mission.

    Since the establishment of the ceasefire regime, the conflicting sides have repeatedly accused each other of violating the agreement. However, the OSCE stated that the truce was generally holding.

    Tags:
    ceasefire, agreement, OSCE, John Kerry, Sergei Lavrov, Minsk
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