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Lavrov: Talks 'to take important decisions' on Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he expects the leaders of Russia, Germany, Ukraine and France to take "important decisions" when they to discuss the ongoing Ukraine crisis, Interfax news agency reported.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Credit: RTV

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande are due to meet in Minsk on Wednesday.

Lavrov: 'Grounds for optimism' on Ukraine deal

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there were reasons for optimism on a Ukraine peace deal but also blamed the US and Europe for inflaming the crisis.

"We believe that there are good grounds for optimism, to issue recommendations for conflict resolution," Lavrov said during a debate at the Munich security conference.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Credit: RTV

He also pointed to growing calls in the West to "pump Ukraine full of lethal weapons."

"This position will only exacerbate the tragedy of Ukraine," he added.

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Ukraine ceasefire being observed 'in general'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is being observed "in general" but "there are incidents when the sides blame each other".

He told a news conference today that Moscow hopes talks will soon start on the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

However, he raised concerns over the "heavy concentration" of Ukrainian troops in parts of eastern Ukraine.

Russia accuses US of supporting the 'party of war'

Moscow has accused Washington of backing what it called the "party of war" in Kiev and said it was counting on a response from the leadership in Ukraine and rebels in its east to a Russian ceasefire plan.

The surge in anti-Russian rhetoric that we have seen exactly when there is a very active effort to seek a political solution shows that the party of war in Kiev has active external support, in this case from the United States

– Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Lavrov warning over Ukraine's Nato membership bid

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that Ukraine's bid to join Nato could "derail" the peace process in the east of the country.

Ukraine's government wants to join the defence alliance but some sections of its population, including its Russian-speaking minority, are opposed.

“This is an obvious attempt to derail all efforts to initiate a dialogue aimed at providing national security," Lavrov is quoted as saying by a Russian news agency.

Russia: EU should respect Ukraine referendum results

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the European Union should respect the results of the referendums in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine over the weekend.

Mr Lavrov's comments follow an apparently overwhelming victory for pro-Russian separatists, with rebel leaders claiming over 85% of voters in both regions voted in favour of independence from Ukraine.

The leader of the rebels in Donetsk has now reportedly asked for his region to be incorporated into the Russian Federation, though the Kremlin has yet to respond to the request.

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Lavrov: New international talks 'going round in circles'

Russia' Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has dismissed calls for a new round of international talks over Ukraine.

He said further negotiations would be "going round in circles" because the first agreement reached in Geneva has, in Russia's view, not been implemented.

Mr Lavrov also claimed it would be "unusual" for the Ukrainian presidential election to go ahead while the Ukrainian army is being deployed in the east of the country.

Russia: Sanctions 'weak' and 'lack common sense'

US and European Union sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis are the result of the West's own weak policies, the Russian Foreign Minister has said.

Last week Sergei Lavrov told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Ukraine must stop its military operation in the southeast of the country. Credit: Reuters

Sergei Lavrov said Russia rejects sanctions "in any of our relationships, in particular those sanctions that were sponsored by the United States and the European Union, which are against all common sense, regarding the events in Ukraine".

Lavrov tells Kerry Ukraine must stop operation in east

Sergei Lavrov has told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Ukraine must stop its military operation in the country's southeastern as part of efforts to defuse the crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Credit: Parspix/ABACA/Press Association Images

In a telephone conversation with Kerry, Lavrov also urged the US to use its influence to secure the release of what the ministry called leaders of the "protest movement" in the region - a reference to pro-Russian separatists.

Kerry and Lavrov discussed efforts to resolve the situation involving detained OSCE military observers, the ministry said, adding that the controlling parts of southeastern Ukraine had not been properly informed of the observers' plans to travel there.

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