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MOSCOW, August 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to mediate talks between the Kiev government and southeastern Ukraine independence supporters, the secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev told RIA Novosti in an interview Friday.
"Russia is not a party to the conflict, but the above-mentioned events take place near our borders. We are interested in peace in Ukraine and in bringing the sides to the negotiating table so that they could settle their disputes," he said.
Patrushev said that Russia is ready to render all assistance to the negotiating process.
"Russia will continue to make every effort for soonest de-escalation of tensions," the official said.
"As for mediation, of course, we are ready to assist in the process of the discussion and we have said so on numerous occasions," he said.
Patrushev came under the latest round of Western sanctions, targeting Russian businesses and officials and linked to the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine and the recent Malaysia Airlines plane crash there.
Russia's relations with the West worsened after the United States and Europe accused Russia of supplying weapons to independence supporters in the troubled Ukrainian regions saying they could have been used to shoot down the airliner with 298 people on board.
Moscow denied any role in the Ukrainian conflict and said it had never sent weapons to Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly called for the Ukrainian government to end the bloodshed, which has lasted since mid-April, when Kiev launched a military crackdown on independence supporters. The conflict has claimed the lives of at least 1,367 people, according to the United Nations.
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