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    Moscow Backs Urgent Meeting of Ukraine Crisis Settlement Group

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    Moscow advocates an urgent meeting of the contact group on settling the crisis in Ukraine and will render any assistance necessary to the negotiation process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow advocates an urgent meeting of the contact group on settling the crisis in Ukraine and will render any assistance necessary to the negotiation process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

    “We are convinced that efforts to put the situation back on the track of negotiations should continue, including an urgent meeting of the Contact group. We will render all assistance to it,” the ministry said.

    Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s envoy in the trilateral contact group said the next meeting on defusing the crisis in eastern Ukraine may be held in Minsk, Belarus. Iryna Herashenko, however, did not give an exact date for the next round of talks, which include the European Union, Ukraine and Russia.

    In a four-party telephone conversation on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Francois Hollande, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke in favor of the third round of consultations between representatives from Kiev and the country’s breakaway southeastern regions.

    Following talks between the four leaders, the foreign ministers of the four countries held the phone call, during which the sides formulated a four-party declaration, stipulating among other things, the urgent need to resume the work of the contact group.

    Ukraine, however, at the last minute decided not to publish the document, saying it was ready to do so only after establishing an unconditional mutual ceasefire.

    Kiev and the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk people’s republics have already met twice in the city of Donetsk for consultations on settling the crisis in the troubled regions.

    The meetings were also attended by Russian ambassador Mikhail Zurabov, former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, envoys from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, leader of the “Ukrainian Choice” movement Viktor Medvedchuk, leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic Alexander Boroday and other officials.

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