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US, Russian Envoys Discuss Eastern Ukraine Conflict

  • VOA News

FILE - Ukrainian military servicemen man their position near Avdiivka, eastern Ukraine, April 16, 2016.

U.S. and Russian envoys have met in an effort to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov met Saturday in Belgrade, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said. But no details have emerged from the closed-door meeting.

Before the meeting Volker tweeted the meeting would focus on "how to catalyze Minsk implementation and restore Ukraine's territorial integrity."

A 2015 deal signed in the Belarusian capital of Minsk called for a cease-fire between Russian-backed separatists fighting Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine, a conflict that has left more than 10,000 dead. The deal has been often violated.

Earlier, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the talks were intended to "synchronize watches" between the two counties.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft also earlier said Volker and Surkov might discuss a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the hotbed Donbas region at the meeting.

Volker had refused to meet with Surkov in Russia and Surkov is barred from European Union countries under sanctions for Russia's role in Ukraine.

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