Moscow: Diplomats at a new round of talks on easing the crisis in Ukraine must push for an immediate, unconditional cease-fire between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian separatists, Russia’s foreign minister said Monday.

The talks later today in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, come as Ukrainian troops are facing a resurgent rebel force. In the past week, the rebels have opened a new front along the southeastern Azov Sea coast and are pushing back after losing ground in the previous several weeks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Russia would not intervene militarily in Ukraine, defying reports by the Ukrainian government, NATO and Western nations that Russia has already sent troops, artillery and tanks across Ukraine’s southeast border to reinforce the separatists.

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