KIEV/MOSCOW, July 10 (Xinhua) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday Ukraine is ready for a bilateral ceasefire in a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the phone.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier talked with Merkel and French President Francois Hollande by phone, calling for resuming a ceasefire regime as soon as possible and the meeting of the three-party Contact Group.
Russia expressed its regrets over the enlargement of punitive operations in Ukraine, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich.
"We are seeing that Ukraine is not curbing violence. On the contrary, the punitive operation is getting tougher and it is spiralling and spreading," said the spokesman, stressing a stable ceasefire should be guaranteed. "Russia wants to settle down the Ukraine crisis as soon as possible. The implementation of the Berlin agreements, especially the ceasefire regime, should be the top priority."
According to Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, twenty-three of the total 36 districts seized by militants in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have been retaken by the Ukrainian army.