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    Kerry, Lavrov Hold Telephone Talks Over Minsk Deal

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry the importance of the countries' impact on the process of implementation of Minsk-2 agreement to ensure a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressed in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry the importance of the countries' impact on the process of implementation of Minsk-2 agreement, including Ukrainian constitutional reforms and ensuring a direct dialogue between Kiev and Donbass, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement published Saturday.

    On Thursday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko submitted a proposal on constitutional amendments which would address the special status of the Donbass region to the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada.

    "Russia stressed the importance of active influence on the process of implementation of February 12's package of measures [Minsk-2 agreement] in order to prevent avoiding the commitments taken in the deal's framework, especially regarding the need of holding direct dialogue between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk," the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement reads.

    Kremlin has repeatedly stated that it was willing to use its influence on the self-proclaimed Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics to settle the conflict between Kiev and independence supporters if Western countries influence Kiev.

    Constitutional amendments in Ukraine, providing more autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, were stipulated in the February Minsk agreements between Kiev and independence supporters.

    On July 13, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the original constitutional proposals were prepared without any consultation with representatives of the southeast of Ukraine and ignored the interests of Donbass residents, undermining international efforts to bring peace to the region.


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