Kerry urges Russia to remove forces from Ukraine and press rebels into abiding by ceasefire


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WASHINGTON — Secretary of State John Kerry has urged Russia to remove forces from eastern Ukraine and press Ukrainian separatists into observing a cease-fire.

The State Department says Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) spoke by telephone Wednesday.

Kerry insisted Russia pull troops from eastern Ukraine. The U.S. says Russians provide heavy weaponry and training to Ukraine's rebels, and operate surface-to-air missile sites.

The department didn't provide Lavrov's response. Russia says it has no troops in Ukraine.

Kerry also sought help in ensuring international monitors can access areas under separatist control.

The pair also discussed arms control, Iran, Yemen, Syria and an upcoming meeting of Arctic nations.

On Wednesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf accused "combined Russian-separatist" forces of violating the latest cease-fire agreed with Ukraine's government in February.

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