UPDATE 1-Russia urges Kiev to halt "military operation against own people"

Mon May 26, 2014 2:05pm EDT

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(Adds comments by Russian foreign ministry.)

MOSCOW May 26 (Reuters) - Russia urged the Ukraine government to halt what it called a military operation against its own people on Monday and called on the OSCE international monitoring mission to investigate clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk.

Ukraine launched air strikes and a paratrooper assault against pro-Russian rebels who seized an airport on Monday, as its newly elected leader rejected any talks with "terrorists".

"In connection with reports of armed clashes near Donetsk that have led to casualties, we urgently appeal to the leadership of the OSCE and its special monitoring mission in Ukraine to provide detailed information on the events there," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"We expect objective and comprehensive information about this from representatives of the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and from the Kiev authorities - a halt to the military operations against its own people."

Echoing remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past few days, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was ready to work with Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's next president. But he warned the Kiev authorities not to step up armed operations against separatists in the east. (Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy, Larry King)

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