The peace plan begins with my order for a unilateral ceasefire.
Kiev (ANTARA News) - Ukraines new Western-backed president announced plans Wednesday to order a unilateral ceasefire in the separatist east that could help end a bloody pro-Russian insurgency and avert his ex-Soviet countrys breakup.

Petro Poroshenko took a further step towards relieving tensions with Russia by deciding to replace acting Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsya -- a hate figure in Moscow -- with his current envoy to OSCE-mediated negotiations with the Kremlin.

But he also appealed for US and EU help to secure his countrys porous border with Russia and stem the influx of arms and militants into the conflict zone.

The frontier has witnessed ferocious clashes in recent weeks in which militants armed with Russian-made rocket launchers have attacked Ukrainian border guard camps and ambushed army patrols.

A Ukrainian defence spokesman said the rebels had recently "stepped up their activities" and killed three soldiers.

But the respected Dzerkalo Tyzhnia news site cited defence sources as saying the fighting had killed 15 soldiers and left 13 others missing.

Poroshenko unveiled his peace initiative after late-night talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in which the Kremlin chief also raised concern about the death in Lugansk fighting on Tuesday of two members of a Russian state TV crew.

"The peace plan begins with my order for a unilateral ceasefire," Poroshenko told reporters in Kiev.

"Immediately after that, we must receive support for the presidential peace plan from all sides involved (in the conflict)." Acting Defence Minister Mykhailo Koval said the order would be issued "literally within days".

Poroshenkos plan also calls for Putin to formally recognise the new leadership in Ukraine that emerged after months of deadly pro-EU protests ousted the Russian-backed president in February.

"On the one hand, they are talking about a ceasefire. And on the other, they are continuing their aggression," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Washington commended Ukraine for its "good-faith efforts" but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki added: "Naturally, they need a partner in this effort."

Psaki said the United States had seen no indication of reciprocal good-faith efforts by Moscow.


(Uu.SYS/C/T008/C/T008) 19-06-2014 05:10:54

Editor: Ella Syafputri
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