Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday that he will order a unilateral ceasefire in Ukraine, which would give Russian separatists a chance to stop fighting.
Poroshenko made his announcement following a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The Ukrainian president explained that the ceasefire marks the first steps in a peace process designed to relieve tensions in the restive east, where authorities say hundreds have been killed in clashes.
Poroshenko stated that the ceasefire should quickly lead to a more permanent solution, saying: "the ceasefire time will be pretty short. We expect that disarmament of military groups and restoration of order will take place right after it... we expect that hostages and seized premises will be liberated." Reuters offers some more details:
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. Acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval told journalists in Kiev the ceasefire "will happen in the next few days."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the ceasefire must be comprehensive, adding that "then it could be the step President Poroshenko has promised and which in general we were all waiting for."
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