12:00 AM, June 29, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, March 08, 2015

Kiev extends truce with rebels

Kiev extends truce with rebels

Seeks concrete steps from Russia after signing EU deal
Afp, Kiev

Ukraine yesterday sought concrete steps from Russia to back up a tenuous truce it extended with pro-Moscow rebels in the hope of calming a deadly insurgency sparked by its new westward course.
President Petro Poroshenko returned triumphant from Brussels on Friday having opened the way to Ukraine's eventual membership in the European Union by signing the final chapters of a landmark free trade and political association accord.
Ukraine is facing a 12-week insurgency that has killed more than 440 people and is viewed by both Kiev and its Western allies as Russian President Vladimir Putin's retribution for the February toppling of a leader who had ditched the very EU accord Poroshenko had signed in Brussels in favour of closer ties to the Kremlin.
Poroshenko ultimately decided to extend the shacky ceasefire until Monday evening under the condition that Russia requires the insurgents to return border crossings to Ukrainian forces and set up a monitoring mechanism for a long-term truce.
The Ukrainian military on Saturday reported sporadic attacks by pro-Russian gunmen that resulted in no casualties and appeared to be on the decline in comparison to previous days.
Putin has publically backed the ceasefire's extensions and promoted direct talks between Poroshenko and top rebel commanders.
But the West wants the Kremlin chief to call on the fighters to lay down their weapons and relinquish control of state buildings they had seized across a dozen eastern cities and towns.
EU leaders agreed at their Brussels summit "to reconvene at any time to adopt further significant restrictive measures if a detailed list of concrete steps are not taken by Russia and the separatists by Monday."


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