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Moscow urges Kiev to stop hostilities to ensure observers safety

Moscow does not rule out that the OSCE observers who arrived in Russia's Rostov region on Tuesday may face danger because of a military operation on the Ukrainian territory close to the border with Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"First OSCE observers arrived in the Rostov region on July 29 and began working at the Donetsk and Gukovo checkpoints on the border with Ukraine," the ministry said.

"The decision to deploy them was made by the OSCE on July 24 in line with the Berlin declaration of the German, Russian, French and Ukrainian foreign ministers of July 2," it said. "It was supported unanimously despite attempts by Ukrainian, US and Canadian delegations to disrupt it," the ministry added.

"The invitation of international observers is another confirmation of goodwill of Russia, which makes every effort to contribute to de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis, to create conditions for an immediate launch of the negotiating process by the Ukrainian parties and to remove groundless accusations from Kiev and Western countries of our allegedly bad control on the border," it added.

"Sixteen OSCE observers will be monitoring the Gukovo and Donetsk border checkpoints round-the-clock," it informed, adding that "the government of the Rostov region and relevant federal agencies will offer maximum support".

"Continuing armed hostilities in the southeast of Ukraine pose a direct threat to hundreds of citizens of our countries and officers at border checkpoints," it said. "We urge the Ukrainian side to immediately stop a military operation and sit down at the negotiating table to settle the crisis," the ministry said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 30Jul14]

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