News World Russia backs truce, but not deal

Russia backs truce, but not deal

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Russian and Ukrainian leaders have agreed on steps needed for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, but Moscow cannot be party to any agreement as it is not involved in the conflict, a Kremlin spokesman says.

“(Vladimir) Putin and (Petro) Poroshenko really did discuss steps which would lead to a ceasefire between rebels and Ukrainian troops,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency, after Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced he and Vladimir Putin had agreed to a permanent truce.

“But in principle Russia cannot agree on a ceasefire as it is not a participant in the conflict.”

Earlier, Poroshenko announced that Putin and he had agreed to a “permanent ceasefire” in fighting engulfing the east of the ex-Soviet state following a telephone exchange.

Putin and Poroshenko had reached “an agreement for a permanent ceasefire in Donbass (eastern Ukraine),” the Ukrainian president’s office said in a statement on Wednesday. The word “permanent” was later removed from his website, casting doubt on the whole agreement.

In Tallinn, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday it was still “too early” to know what the ceasefire that Kiev claims to have concluded with Moscow in eastern Ukraine really means.