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Iran Press TV

Putin voices concern over Ukraine crisis

Iran Press TV

Thu Jul 3, 2014 2:0PM GMT

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has expressed "deep concern" over the increasing number of civilian casualties and refugees in Ukraine's eastern regions.

Putin made the statement after a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Thursday.

'Vladimir Putin expressed deep concern over the growing number of peaceful civilians and a sharp increase in the number of refugees from southeastern Ukraine in Russia,' the Kremlin said in a statement.

The phone conversation followed Wednesday's talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Ukraine's Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.

The foreign ministers had gathered in Germany's Berlin in a meeting aimed at de-escalating the ongoing tensions in Ukraine's restive east.

A series of measures were agreed upon, one of which was reopening talks between Kiev and pro-Russian forces with the goal of reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable ceasefire.

The previous 10-day ceasefire between Ukraine and the pro-Russia forces ended on Monday.

Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking parts in the east have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in mid-April in a bid to crush the pro-Moscow protests.

The government in Kiev says it is targeting armed protesters, but reports say many civilians have been caught in the fighting.

The violence intensified after Donetsk and Lugansk held local referendums on May 11, in which the residents of the two eastern regions voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

SRK/AB



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