A soldier stands guard next to an armed vehicle at a check point near Donetsk, Ukraine, May 21, 2014. About 800 Ukraine soldiers have set up several checkpoints around Donetsk to secure the road from Donetsk to the border with Russia on Wednesday. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called on Russia to intensify its efforts to ease the crisis in eastern Ukraine. (Xinhua/Dai Tianfang)
KIEV, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called on Russia to intensify its efforts to ease the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
"We expect Russia's tangible steps to de-escalate the situation," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.
The statement urged Moscow to withdraw its troops from the border with Ukraine, abandon the alleged support of insurgents in Lugansk and Donetsk regions and terminate the "anti-Ukrainian" rhetoric.
It pointed out Kiev passed a memorandum Tuesday that guaranteed the status of Russian as second official language in Ukraine and approved government decentralization in line with protesters' demands.
Kiev also pledged to further implement the Geneva agreement in pursuit of a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict.
Earlier in the day, Russia appeared to be laying the groundwork for easing tension in eastern Ukraine when its Defense Ministry said troops involved in military exercises near the border were returning to their bases.
Ukraine plunged into chaos in late February after the ouster of the previous cabinet and President Viktor Yanukovych, which resulted in its Black Sea Crimean peninsula breaking away and joining Russia.
Less than a month later, unrest began in eastern Ukrainian regions, where insurgents are demanding independence from Kiev and closer ties with Moscow.