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Moscow pushes Europe to get Ukraine to comply with February truce; Ukraine blames rebels


MOSCOW — Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pushed Wednesday for European powers to get Ukraine to comply with a truce in eastern Ukraine.

The already shaky truce between government troops and Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine was again thrown into question this week when overnight shelling from both sides killed at least nine people. Moscow blamed Kiev for the surge of violence, while Kiev said the rebel fighters provoked it.

The leaders of Ukraine, Germany and France are to meet Monday in Berlin to discuss the uptick in fighting. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is likely to meet senior EU officials in Brussels next week.

Lavrov said Wednesday he hopes Germany and France, as signatories of the February truce, "will do everything to make sure" Kiev complies with the deal. The truce calls for the withdrawal of large-caliber weapons from the front lines and reforms to devolve power to Ukraine's regions.

NATO members discussed Ukraine on Wednesday and "expressed their serious concern about the recent sharp escalation of violence," acting alliance spokesman Carmen Romero said in a statement. He said NATO stressed the need for all parties to de-escalate tensions and exercise restraint in eastern Ukraine.

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