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Putin calls for efforts to end Ukraine crisis

By Xinhua in Moscow | China Daily | Updated: 2015-01-20 07:56

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on the parties involved in the Ukraine crisis to spare no effort in peacefully settling the situation.

"I propose both sides ... to take urgent measures to stop shelling each other, as well as to immediately withdraw heavy weaponry," Russia's Channel One Television quoted Putin's message sent to his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.

"Recent developments in southeastern Ukraine, the resumed shelling of settlements in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, cause grave concern and actually jeopardize the peace settlement process based on the September Minsk agreement," Putin said.

Putin promised Russia is ready to work with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to monitor the implementation of the cease-fire agreement and the weapon withdrawal by the conflicting sides in Ukraine.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov disclosed on Sunday that Putin's weaponry withdrawal proposal was "rejected" by the Ukrainian side.

"The Ukrainian president received the letter on Friday morning. ... Unfortunately, the Ukrainian side rejected the proposed plan without providing an alternative offer, meanwhile resuming military operations," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Peskov as saying.

The spokesman said that "Russia has consistently made efforts to mediate in the conflict in recent days," Peskov said.

Moreover, Russia's foreign ministry said that Russia is ready to "use its influence" and persuade the local insurgents to accept the weaponry withdrawal as "a good will gesture" to avoid more civilian deaths.

In an online statement, the ministry expressed deep concern over Kiev's increasing military presence in Donbas, a local name referring to eastern Ukraine.

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