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Lavrov calls for 'de-escalation of rhetoric' over Ukraine

Russian troops near the Ukrainian border will return to its permanent bases after completing its military exercises, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said, calling for a "de-escalation" of rhetoric.

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Russia's Lavrov calls Western sanctions 'unpleasant'

Russia's foreign minister said Western sanctions have been "unpleasant" but not too painful overall.

In an interview due to air on Russia's Channel One today, Sergei Lavrov said: "The sanctions ... I don't want to say that they are laughable, I don't want to say that we don't care.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet his US counterpart later today. Credit: REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

"They are unpleasant. But the fact they try to take those sanctions on a more personal level and present them as directed at certain people personally - it is clearly a desire to take revenge, we can see it with the naked eye".

Mr Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry are scheduled to meet in Paris later today.

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