LONDON, April 23 (Xinhua) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Wednesday pressed for the immediate implementation of the April 17 Geneva agreement on Ukraine in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, said the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
Hague urged Russia to take steps to de-escalate the situation in eastern and southern Ukraine, including making a clear public statement calling for armed groups in eastern Ukraine to disarm and vacate occupied buildings, the FCO said in a statement.
The foreign secretary also invited Russian diplomats to join efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine.
Hague said he welcomed "the steps the Ukrainian government is taking to implement the Geneva agreement," describing the actions as "bold steps."
He called on Russia to demonstrate "commitment" to the Geneva agreement, according to the FCO statement.
The statement did not provide what Lavrov said in the phone call.
"In Geneva, we agreed there must be the end to all violence. Next afternoon, (acting Ukrainian President Alexandr) Turchinov declared almost a state of emergency and ordered the army to shoot at the people," Lavrov said Wednesday in an interview with the Russia Today TV channel, describing those actions as "criminal."
Lavrov also said the buildup of Russian troops near the border with Ukraine was within international law. He said the troops have been participating in routine military drills and he denied the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.
On Thursday last week, the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union concluded Geneva talks on Ukraine after reaching an agreement, calling for an immediate halt of violence in Ukraine and practical steps to de-escalate the tension.
According to the statement issued after the meeting, all sides must refrain from any violence, intimidation or provocative actions as part of initial concrete steps to de-escalate tensions and restore security for all citizens in the region.