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May 18, 7:12 AM EDT

US diplomat in Moscow for talks on Ukraine

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MOSCOW (AP) -- A senior U.S. diplomat is visiting Moscow for talks focusing on Ukraine.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland says she met with Russian presidential adviser Vladislav Surkov to discuss the implementation of the Minsk agreement for eastern Ukraine. She told reporters Wednesday that "we want to see Minsk implemented as soon as possible and we think that it is now time to really step on the gas and see this implemented."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the talks as a "brief exchange of opinions."

Nuland says she also met Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

The February 2015 Minsk accord has helped reduce hostilities between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine, but sporadic clashes have continued. The two-year conflict has killed over 9,300 people.

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