Ukraine crisis: Russia ready for peace talks, but Kiev rejects call to include separatists
Russia said that it was willing to attend peace talks on the escalating violence in Ukraine but only if pro-Russian separatists were allowed to go.
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, described the separatists as victims of the Kiev government.
Speaking at a meeting of the Council of Europe in Vienna, he said: “Those who protest want their voices heard. They want to have an equal voice when it comes to deciding the fate of their own country.”
His Ukrainian counterpart rejected the proposal, saying the Kiev government already represents all the people of Ukraine, although the government continued to fight separatists. The Ukrainian Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, said yesterday that 30 pro-Russian separatists and four government troops were killed in fighting around the eastern city of Slovyansk.
Ukrainian troops tightened a security cordon around Slovyansk yesterday but pro-Russia militia acted freely elsewhere in the region.
In the south-west, Kiev authorities also attempted to reassert control over the Black Sea region of Odessa by appointing a new governor.
Mr Avakov posted the death toll on his Facebook page, adding that 20 government troops were also injured during fighting in Slovyansk. He said about 800 pro-Russia fighters in and around Slovyansk used heavy machine guns and mortars on Monday. By yesterday, Ukrainian forces had taken hold of a checkpoint north of the city.
In Donetsk, 75 miles south of Slovyansk, the airport was closed during the day to international flights following a government order but reopened later.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Getty)
In the afternoon, about 30 pro-Russia militants armed with automatic rifles and grenade launchers surrounded an interior ministry base in Donetsk, demanding that the troops inside not join any government operations against pro-Russia forces.
In the south-west, Kiev authorities announced they had dismissed the acting governor in Odessa and replaced him with member of parliament, Ihor Palytsya. Odessa’s police chief was also removed over the weekend.
The dismissals came after 46 people died on Friday, many in a building fire, after pro-Ukraine and pro-Russian demonstrators clashed.
The concern that Odessa could be the next region to fall to pro-Russia forces – particularly after 67 people detained in rioting were released by police under pressure from an angry crowd – has caused concern in Kiev.
- 1 Windows 10: man updates PC, wakes up to find porn slideshow on repeat
- 2 The 'world's most beautiful vagina' has been debunked by science
- 3 John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
- 5 Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
Whoopi Goldberg tells Cara Delevingne to suck it up: 'She's not famous. I'M famous'
John Green schools morning show hosts after awkward interview with Cara Delevingne
Supermodel Gisele Bundchen mocked for wearing a burka to avoid being seen visiting plastic surgeon in Paris
Bulletproof armadillo puts Texas man in hospital after shot bounces off hard shell
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper dies: Wrestling legend dies aged 61, according to reports
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...