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Ukraine's new president, Petro Poroshenko, said on Wednesday that he would soon order a unilateral ceasefire in the separatist east as part of a broader plan to end the 10-week insurgency.
“The peace plan begins with my order for a unilateral ceasefire,” the Interfax-Ukraine news agency quoted the Western-backed leader as saying.
“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's announcement came after a phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday in which the two leaders discussed a long-term solution to the pro-Kremlin uprising gripping Ukraine's eastern rustbelt since early April.
The Ukrainian leader's 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”.
The Kremlin confirmed that “the issue of a possible ceasefire in the area of the military operation in Ukraine's southeast had been touched upon”.
Poroshenko's peace initiative calls for an end to hostilities and for Putin to formally recognise the new leadership in Ukraine that rose to power following the pro-Russian administration's ousting in February.
The 48-year-old confectionery tycoon won Ukraine's May 25 presidential election on a promise to quickly end the country's worst crisis since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Interfax-Ukraine said Poroshenko told reporters in Kiev that the ceasefire was meant to be a temporary measures designed to give the pro-Russian militants a chance to disarm. - Sapa-AFP