(Adds quotes, context)
MOSCOW May 29 Russia demanded on Thursday that
the Ukrainian government stop its military operation against
pro-Russian separatists and urged the United States and European
Union to press Kiev to avert a "catastrophe" in the former
"We once again demand that the Kiev authorities stop the
fratricidal war and start a real national dialogue with all
political forces and representatives of the country's regions,"
the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Ukrainian government and President-elect Petro
Poroshenko have defied Moscow's calls for an end to the
operation against the rebels in eastern Ukraine, where
casualties on both sides have been heavy this week.
Russia voiced deep concern about the "escalation" and said
proposals stemming from an agreement reached by the European
Union, Russia, Ukraine and the United States in Geneva in April
remained a viable path out of the crisis.
"We repeat again: The international community expects from
Kiev an immediate end to the military action in the east of the
country and the withdrawal of forces. It is impossible to
achieve peace without this," the Foreign Ministry said.
"We again call on our Western partners to use all their
influence on Kiev to stop Ukraine's slide into national
(Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)