Moscow expresses concerns about reports on preparations by Ukrainian troops to storm Slavyansk

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier had a phone conversation on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry has reported. Lavrov expressed concerns about the reports “on the preparation by the Ukrainian army with support from Right Sector to storm some cities in the southeastern regions of Ukraine, including the city of Slavyansk,” the report says.

The Russian minister “called to prevent the European officers’ departure of Slavyansk from being taken by the Kiev law enforcement officials and extremists as a signal to attack and repetition of the bloodshed they perpetrated in Odessa.”

“Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed appreciation to Russia for its assistance in the mission of Russian presidential envoy Vladimir Lukin to release the Western European officers in the city of Slavyansk,” the report says.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier agreed that the violence should be stopped and that the agreements outlined in the Geneva statement of April 17 should be fulfilled, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a report, according to Interfax.

“The Russian minister reconfirmed that the chances for such dialogue still exist on condition of the cancellation of the criminal order to use the army against the people and curbing national radicals,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Lavrov urges to use OSCE potential to force Kiev into cancelling military operation in Ukraine’s southeast

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Didier Burkhalter called for full compliance with the Geneva Statement of April 17 on Ukraine, starting with an immediate ceasefire. They also agreed to use the OSCE potential for fostering a real and equal dialogue between the Kiev authorities and representatives of the South-East of Ukraine.

“The parties have condemned the expansion of violence in Ukraine, especially the riotous behavior of radicals in Odessa. Lavrov urged to use the OSCE’s potential to force Kiev into cancelling the military operation against civilians in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine,” the ministry stated, RIA reports.

Russia believes the Slavyansk self-defense forces have manifested courage and humanity by handing the European military experts to Russian presidential envoy Vladimir Lukin, who took them to Donetsk.

“This step was made by the Slavyansk self-defense forces despite the deliberate escalation of the internal crisis by the so-called administration in Kiev in a situation when a peaceful city is subjected to a direct unmotivated attack, in which troops and Right Sector fighters dressed in National Guard uniform are broadly used,” the information and press department of the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a commentary on the release of the European military specialists in Slavyansk.

“No doubt, it indicates the courage and humanity of the city defenders. They, above all, showed care for the safety of the foreign citizens to prevent them from being hurt in the punitive operation,” the document says, TASS reports.

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