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    Ukrainian serviceman stands near tanks at an apartment house in Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017

    No Alternatives to Minsk Deal on Ukraine - President Putin

    © AP Photo / Evgeniy Maloletka
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed on Friday that there is no alternative to the Minsk agreements on Ukraine and expressed hope that Russia and the European Union would eventually restore damaged relations.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Putin held talks with Slovenia President Borut Pahor in Moscow earlier in the day.

    "I informed Mr President [Pahor] about the recent developments and the escalation of the situation in eastern Ukraine, stressing the absence of alternatives to the implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for resolving the conflict," Putin said at a joint news conference with Pahor after talks.

    "We also discussed the current state of Russia-EU relations, and I hope they will be gradually restored," Putin added.

    Earlier, Putin explained three reasons behind the escalation in eastern Ukraine.

    The situation in southeastern Ukraine has escalated over the past few weeks, in particular near the town of Avdiivka in the Donetsk region, where clashes between Kiev forces and the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic militia have intensified. The conflicting parties have both accused each other of initiating the violence.

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    Vladimir Putin, Russia, Donbass, Ukraine
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