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dpa

MOSCOW/BERLIN — Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that a political settlement of the conflict in Ukraine was possible only if the government in Kiev halted its military campaign against separatist rebels in the east.

“As long as Kiev seeks a forceful solution, international efforts … won’t have success,” Lavrov told reporters in Berlin, according to Russian news agencies.

Lavrov added that four-party talks with his colleagues from Ukraine, Germany, and France late on Sunday made no progress on the issue of a ceasefire, because the Ukrainians “keep making vague demands.”

It was unclear Monday if the talks would continue.

The four foreign ministers did, however, reach an agreement on the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to the embattled Luhansk region.

A convoy of almost 280 lorries is standing at the Russian-Ukrainian border since Thursday.

Ukraine said over the weekend that it would recognize the convoy as humanitarian if it is delivered by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). However, the ICRC has said that it still needed security guarantees to pass through territory held by pro-Russian separatists.

Fighting continues in eastern Ukraine. The government in Kiev said Monday that its forces surrounded the city of Horlivka and took a strategic town outside the city of Luhansk from the rebels.

AFP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov

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