Ukraine and Russia Presidents Talk ‘Cease Fire’


Phone conversation between Poroshenko and Putin lays groundwork for peace deal

– Jon Queally

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said a cease fire could come within days. (Credit: Sergie Chirikov/EPA))Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday has offered an outline of a 14-step peace plan process designed to end the months long violence and political upheaval in Ukraine following a late night telephone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The two leaders spoke Tuesday night and Poroshenko says the first step will be a complete “cease fire” in the eastern regions of the country that could begin within days.

“The plan will begin with my order for a unilateral cease-fire,” Poroshenko was quoted as saying by various news outlets. “Immediately after this, we need very quickly to get support for the peace plan … from all participants.”

The conversation and announced plan comes less than two days after Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine on Monday. Amid months of recent violence and regional tensions, Moscow and Kiev have been in a battle over outstanding payment for Russian gas owed by the Ukrainian government. Energy resources, especially over natural gas pipelines, are seen as a key sticking point in the long-term prospects for better relations between the two countries that share a long and complicated history.

As Agence France-Presse reports:

Weeks of acrimonious debt and price negotiations broke up on Monday, with Russia walking away from a compromise solution proposed in Kiev by the European Union’s energy commissioner.

Kiev blamed the explosion of a vital pipeline used to transport Siberian gas to Europe — which erupted in a spectacular fireball on Tuesday — on Russian “sabotage”.

Acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov — an outspoken official who has made a recent series of unsubstantiated claims — said on Tuesday that the explosion at the Trans-Siberian Pipeline Russian may have been an act of “terrorism”.

On the proposed peace agreement now on the offer, Reuters reports the deal would include “amnesty for separatist fighters who lay down arms, and tighter controls over Ukraine’s border with Russia.”

Meanwhile, in the city of Donetsk on Wednesday, thousands of Ukrainians marched against the military aggression of the Kiev-controlled Ukraine Army in recent weeks and once again declared their autonomy and independence.

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