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Russia ready to continue dialogue with Ukraine

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Moscow, March 8 (IANS) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday his country is willing to continue a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities on resolving the crisis in the region.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue on the understanding that the dialogue must be honest, partnership-like, without attempts to show us almost as a party to the conflict,” Xinhua quoted Lavrov as saying after talks with his Tajik counterpart, Sirojidin Aslov.

He also said Russia would push for an investigation into reports of snipers cutting down scores of protestors in Kiev’s Independence Square during the carnage preceding Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster.

“The snipers case cannot be shelved, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe should address it,” the Interfax news agency quoted Lavrov as saying.

A recently disclosed telephone call between Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton indicated the snipers may not be linked to Yanukovych, as has been claimed by his opponents.

Russia has branded EU concern over Ukraine’s democracy “fake”, and urged an international independent probe into the snipers case.

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