Moscow: Ukraine "rejected" Russian President Vladimir Putin`s weaponry withdrawal proposal after he tried to ask parties involved in the Ukraine crisis to peacefully settle the matter.
"I propose both sides ... to take urgent measures to stop shelling at each other, as well as to immediately withdraw heavy weaponry," Xinhua quoted Putin`s message sent to his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko.
"Recent developments in south-eastern Ukraine, the resumed shelling of settlements in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions cause grave concern and actually jeopardize the peace settlement process based on the September Minsk agreement of last year," Putin added.
Putin promised Russia is ready to work with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the weapon withdrawal by the conflicting sides in Ukraine.
However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov disclosed Sunday that Putin`s weaponry withdrawal proposal was "rejected" by the Ukrainian side.
"The Ukrainian president received the letter on Friday ... Unfortunately, the Ukrainian side rejected the proposed plan without providing an alternative offer, meanwhile resuming military operations," Peskov said.
The spokesman stressed that "Russia has consistently made efforts to mediate in the conflict in recent days".
The Russian foreign ministry had also said that Russia is ready to "use its influence" and persuade the local insurgents to accept the weaponry withdrawal as "a good will gesture" to avoid more civilian deaths.
In an online statement, the ministry expressed deep concern over Kiev`s increasing military presence in eastern Ukraine.
"The intensive militarization, announcements of `new waves` of Ukrainian citizens` mobilisation, and appeals from Kiev to `take revenge` for the situation `on the ground` that has taken shape after the signature of the Minsk agreement" prove that the Ukrainian side was in defiance of the Minsk agreements, the ministry alleged in the statement.
According to the statement, the Kiev government allegedly took advantage of the recent ceasefire to regroup the forces and continue its military actions.
Calling for a strict adherence to the Minsk agreement by all parties, the Russian foreign ministry said that Moscow is doing everything in its power to make sure the contact group could meet early next week.
"We are urging its members and all those influencing the situation to prevent another negotiation breakdown," the ministry said.