Ukraine Opposes Direct Talks with Pro-Russian Rebels
Ukraine has turned down Moscow's suggestion to talk directly to pro-Russian rebels to put an end to the conflict in the eastern part of the country.
In an address to the lower house of Russia's Parliament, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday called for the establishment of stable contacts between the government in Kiev and representatives of the separatist Donbass region in order to reach mutually acceptable agreements.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk rejected Lavrov's suggestion, saying he was unwilling to talk to terrorists, and accused Russia of trying to force Ukraine into recognising the separatists.
Speaking at a government meeting, Yatsenyuk dismissed the idea of direct talks with the rebels, labelling them Moscow's mercenaries and stating that if Russia wanted peace, it had to stick by the Minsk ceasefire agreement.
Kiev has repeatedly accused Russia of providing military support to rebels in eastern Ukraine. Moscow has denied the charge.
Lavrov and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, at which the two sides failed to overcome their differences over the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
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