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Russian FM blasts Kiev's demands regarding south-eastern militias

Russia's top diplomat on Tuesday criticized Kiev's demands that militiamen in Ukraine's embattled south-eastern regions capitulate.

"We see everything thanks to correspondents who work risking their lives, and (we see) how solemn words of (Ukrainian) President Poroshenko that the Ukrainian army was ordered not to shell cities, settlements and residential quarters, not to bomb civilians, reflect reality," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"What is happening is totally different," Lavrov said. "We see killed people, deformed bodies, destroyed apartments, houses. This is dismal."

"Statements from the Ukrainian authorities that truce is only possible if militiamen accept the peace plan, that is, capitulate, and hope to be pardoned, discourage us and remove any opportunities for reaching the truce," he said.

In line with a four-party agreement, Ukraine agreed to an unconditional ceasefire, Lavrov said Tuesday after a meeting with Slovenian President Borut Pahor and Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec.

"The four-party statement of the foreign ministers of the Russian Federation, France, Germany and Ukraine (of July 2) clearly calls for an immediate, unconditional, bilateral ceasefire," Lavrov said. "That is what Ukraine signed."

"There are no conditions like militia's capitulation. Ukraine agreed to an unconditional ceasefire," he said.

"We need to throw aside everything to immediately stop the use of force," Lavrov emphasized. "We are convinced Slovenia understands our position and the fact that ceasefire is a priority task."

The example of Crimea - a region that did not recognize the authorities imposed during a coup in Ukraine in February and seceded from the country to join Russia in March - apparently inspired residents of Ukraine's south-east who supported the country's federalization. The residents started massive protests and formed militias.

Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine's war-torn south-eastern regions, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation.

[Source: Itar Tass, Maribor, Slovenia, 08Jul14]

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Ukraine Unrest
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