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Russia-Ukraine Agree on Ceasefire
Sep 08, 2014

The conflict in Ukraine, now in its fifth month, could see an end soon as Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced a ceasefire agreement. Poroshenko’s office said the agreement was reached in a telephone exchange that was preceded by a few hours by United States President Barack Obama’s arrival in former Soviet Estonia–a new NATO member nation seeking Western protection from an increasingly belligerent Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko held a telephone exchange that resulted in an agreement for a permanent ceasefire in Donbass (eastern Ukraine). An understanding was reached concerning steps that will help to establish peace.

But it was not immediately clear if rebel commanders–a loose band of mostly Russian-speakers who have no single leader and have been making sweeping advances in recent days–were ready to either comply or disband.

US President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia to deliver an emblematic message of unbending NATO support for new members from ex-Soviet nations rattled by Russia’s perceived actions in Ukraine. Leaders from the 28-nation Western military bloc agreed in Wales on the creation of a 4000-strong force  that could be deployed within two days to meet any perceived Russian military movements in Eastern Europe. Poroshenko’s stunning announcement came more than four months into conflict that has claimed more than 2 600 lives and plunged relations between Russia and Ukraine’s Western allies to its lowest since the Cold War.

Putin set warning bells ringing across Eastern Europe even further by telling European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso, in a private exchange, that he could capture Kiev in two weeks. Putin had wanted Kiev to grant statehood to the heavily Russianised eastern districts of Lugansk and Donetsk. Fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed nearly 2,600 people and forced over 340,000 to flee their homes, according to the U.N.

But in a latest development Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk rejected the ceasefire plan unveiled by Russian President Vladimir Putin as an attempt to deceive the West about Russia’s real intentions. He said, “This latest plan is another attempt to pull the wool over the eyes  of the international community ahead of the NATO summit and an attempt to avert the EU’s inevitable decision to unleash a new wave of sanctions against Russia. The best plan for ending Russia’s war against Ukraine has only  one single element—for Russia to withdraw its troops, its mercenaries  and its terrorists from Ukrainian territory.”

His comments come despite Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko saying he and Putin had agreed on the peace plan aimed at ending the near five-month conflict in eastern Ukraine.

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