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    Ultimatums Should be Eliminated for Talks on Ukraine to Start – Lavrov

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    Negotiations on the Ukrainian crisis are possible only if the parties refrain from ultimatums and preliminary conditions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, July 9 (RIA Novosti) – Negotiations on the Ukrainian crisis are possible only if the parties refrain from ultimatums and preliminary conditions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

    “All of the ultimatums must be removed and all of the preliminary conditions, and confirmation is needed of what was signed by Ukraine in the Berlin Declaration. I will emphasize again: this is the unconditional bilateral ceasefire,” Lavrov said during a press conference in Moscow with his Italian counterpart Federica Mogherini.

    On July 2, Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France held four-party talks in Berlin, in which they agreed upon a range of measures necessary to persuade Ukraine to immediately return to a ceasefire.

    Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko announced a ten-day ceasefire at the end of June, but made a decision not to extend it beyond July 1, as the parties had not laid down their weapons. Soon afterwards, the country’s security forces resumed an offensive against independence supporters in the southeast.

    On Tuesday, Ukraine’s Security and Defense Council announced there will be no ceasefire until independence supporters lay down their arms.

    Kiev launched a special military operation in the east of the country mid-April in a crackdown on the local residents that refused to recognize the legitimacy of Ukraine’s new authorities and held referendums on independence, declaring their regions The People’s Republic of Donetsk and The People’s Republic of Luhansk.

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