Lavrov denies that east Ukraine unrest work of supposed Russian agents

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April 14, 2014, 9:33 a.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied allegations that the current unrest in southeastern Ukraine is the work of supposed Russian agents.

Ukrainian acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deschytsia called Lavrov on Saturday and, "in the course of the conversation, tried to hold Russia accountable for the aggravation of the situation in the south and southeast of Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"He claimed that some Russian agents are active in those regions, and that several of them have been arrested already," it said.

"Lavrov answered that there was no reason for such allegations. He mentioned that similar complaints about Russia came from Washington but that no specific facts had been cited to us," the ministry said.

"[Lavrov] stressed the responsibility of the current authorities in Kyiv for the prevention of any use of force in the south and southeast of Ukraine. It was pointed out to Deschytsia that constant threats from Kyiv to storm buildings in Donetsk and Luhansk that have been occupied by protesters were unacceptable. Lavrov urged the Ukrainian side to follow a purely peaceful path, a path of dialogue with full account taken of the lawful demands of the south and southeast of Ukraine, including direct involvement of representatives of those regions in a constitutional reform process," the statement said.

"In response to questions from Deschytsia about prospects for a quadrilateral Russia-United States-European Union-Ukraine meeting, the Russian minister said that Moscow and Washington were continuing to discuss the agenda, format and dates for such an event," the ministry said.

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