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Russia sees push for Ukraine "dialogue" with rebels soon

Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Sunday that the Kiev government needed help to establish a dialogue with pro-Russian activists in southeastern Ukraine and that steps would soon be taken to bring this about.

"It appears that without external help the Kiev authorities are not capable of establishing such a dialogue," Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Rossiya-24 television.

He said a Ukrainian military operation, aimed at retaking rebel-held territory, was in breach of an agreement signed in Geneva last month that was intended to defuse the crisis.

"In the coming days, new efforts will be taken ... to sit the Kiev authorities and representatives of the south-east at the negotiating table," Karasin said.

He gave no further details.

Kiev and Moscow blame each other for unrest in the southern city of Odessa, where at least 42 people were killed on Friday in a street battle between supporters and opponents of Russia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his U.S. counterpart John Kerry agreed in a telephone call on Saturday that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe should play a bigger role in reducing tension.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Nigel Stephenson and Alastair Macdonald)

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