Russia tells Kiev not to use force in southeast Ukraine

by Reuters
Monday, 7 April 2014 18:53 GMT

MOSCOW, April 7 (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Ukraine's acting foreign minister, Andrei Deshchytsa, in a phone conversation on Monday that Kiev must not use force against pro-Russian protesters in southeastern Ukraine, Lavrov's ministry said.

"The need to respect the aspirations of the residents of southeastern Ukraine (and) the inadmissibility of the use of force to respond to legal demands (by protesters) to protect their language, culture and socioeconomic rights was emphasised (from the Russian side)," the ministry's statement said.

Ukraine's interior minister accused President Vladimir Putin on Sunday of orchestrating "separatist disorder" in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian protesters seized administrative buildings in three cities, as a pretext to send Russian troops into Ukraine.

(Reporting By Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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Russia tells Kiev not to use force in southeast Ukraine

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