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Kerry urges Lavrov to respect Ukraine ceasefire

16 june 2015, 13:32

 Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday pressed his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to ensure that Moscow respects the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the State Department said, AFP reports.

In a telephone call to Lavrov, Kerry "urged Russia to seize the opportunity of upcoming meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group and its Working Groups to accelerate progress on implementing the Minsk agreements," signed in February, said John Kirby, a State Department spokesman.

Moscow denies supporting the rebel campaign in any way. But it has agreed to terms that by year-end would give Kiev back control back of a 400-kilometer (250-mile) stretch of the Russia-Ukrainian frontier that the insurgents allegedly use to smuggle in weapons and tanks.

The 14-month campaign has now claimed nearly 6,500 lives.

In addition to Ukraine, the top diplomats "also discussed Syria, Iran, Yemen, and the Arctic Council," Kirby added.

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