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Ceasefire needed for Ukraine negotiations - Russia

23 June 2014, 22:58

Moscow - Russia's foreign ministry on Monday said that a "durable ceasefire" was needed in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Moscow rebels before peace negotiations could start.

"At the moment, a durable ceasefire is needed as an irreversible condition for starting practical steps towards a binding dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and representatives of protesters in southeast Ukraine," the ministry said following a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Ukraine's new Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko has put in place a week-long unilateral ceasefire but fighting has rumbled on as pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have refused to heed calls to silence their guns.

Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both urged dialogue to end the pro-Moscow uprising that has threatened the ex-Soviet state's survival.

Poroshenko has called a peaceful settlement Kiev's "plan A", but warned that the Ukrainian authorities will deal with anyone who uses the negotiations to "buy time and regroup their forces."

Putin has promised to stand behind Poroshenko's peace efforts as long as they led to "substantial dialogue" and resulted in ethnic Russians winning broader language and other civil rights.



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