Putin, Poroshenko reach cease-fire agreement in Ukraine


Russian president Vladimir Putin yesterday stated that he hopes a “final agreement” will be reached by Friday between Kiev and the pro-Russian rebels, adding that his point of view and that of his Ukrainian homologue, Petro Poroshenko, regarding the solution for a the Ukraine crisis are “very close”, informs AFP.
According to Bloomberg, Putin backs the idea of an immediate truce, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said today in Ulan Bator, Mongolia. A conversation between the two leaders resulted in an agreement on a “cease-fire regime” and they reached a mutual understanding on the steps toward peace, Poroshenko said on his website.
A lasting cease-fire would be the biggest breakthrough yet in the conflict that the United Nations estimates has cost at least 2,600 lives. Ukraine, the U.S. and Europe accuse Putin of backing pro-Russian rebels with troops and equipment. Russia, which faces further sanctions as early as this week over the unrest, has repeatedly denied involvement. Even amid talk of a truce, the fighting in eastern Ukraine intensified, with government forces bracing to defend the port city of Mariupol.
“The biggest risk to both a potential cease-fire and a possible larger political agreement would be that they might not be followed through,” Otilia Dhand, an analyst at Teneo Intelligence in London, said by e-mail. “The lack of clear chains of command on both sides and the likely popular backlash in Kiev mean that any kind of agreement could easily fail even before it is supposed to come into effect.”
Also yesterday, Putin laid out a 7-step plan to stop hostilities in E. Ukraine: “On my way here from the city of Blagoveschensk to Ulan-Bator (Mongolia), I outlined some ideas and plan of actions. It’s here, but in handwriting,” Putin told reporters.
1. Militias should cease military advances in the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.
2. Pro-Kiev armed forces should withdraw to a distance that excludes the possibility of shelling settlements.
3. Implement full and objective international control over ceasefire observation and monitoring.
4. Exclude the use of combat aircraft against civilians and villages.
5. Prisoner/captive-exchange via an ‘all-in-all’ formula, without preconditions.
6. Humanitarian corridors for refugees movement and delivery of humanitarian aid across Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.
7. Direct repair-crew access to destroyed social and transit infrastructure with supportive aid.
President Barack Obama reacted yesterday on the Ukraine matter, saying that it is “too early” to decide on the ceasefire truce for Eastern Ukraine. “It is too early to say what this truce means,” Obama said during a press conference in Tallinn, together with his Estonian counterpart Toomas Hendrik Ilves. “I have not seen a document yet,” said the American president.

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