Ukrainian president to order unilateral truce

Poroshenko's ceasefire plan aims to end crisis in separatist east and is expected to put into practice "in a few days".

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that he will soon order a unilateral ceasefire in the separatist east as part of a broader plan to end the 10-week crisis.

    Poroshenko's announcement on Wednesday cam a day after a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the two leaders discussed a long-term solution to the pro-Russian uprising gripping Ukraine's eastern "rust belt" since early April.

    Speaking to students at a military institute in Kiev, Poroshenko outlined a 14-step plan, including an amnesty for separatist fighters who lay down arms, and tighter controls over Ukraine's border with Russia.

    "Immediately after that, we must receive support for the presidential peace plan from all sides involved [in the conflict]. This should happen very shortly," Poroshenko said.

    Poroshenko also said that the ceasefire was meant to be a temporary measure designed to give the pro-Russian fighters a chance to disarm.

    Acting Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval told journalists in Kiev the ceasefire "will happen in the next few days".

    His office said the two presidents "discussed a series of priority measures that must be undertaken to implement a ceasefire, as well as the most efficient ways to monitor it".

    Kremlin said in a separate statement that the conversation between the two leaders "touched on the theme of a possible ceasefire in the area of military action in southeastern Ukraine".

    The dialogue between the leaders aims at ending the clashes in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government forces that killed tens of people.

    Ukrainian troops have struggled to suppress the fighters, who on Saturday shot down a military transport plane, killing all 49 on board.

    Separatists have seized government buildings, held disputed referendums and declared independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions along Ukraine's eastern border with Russia.

    In his inaugural address on June 7, Poroshenko had said that he was willing to negotiate with people in the region, but not with "terrorists" with "blood on their hands". He proposed an amnesty for separatists, early regional elections and new efforts to create jobs in the area.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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