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Ukraine and Russia reach ‘permanent ceasefire’ agreement, Kiev says

The Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, announced on Wednesday that he and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, have agreed to a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. However, a spokesman for Putin apparently denied any such deal had been made, as “Russia is not a party to the conflict”.

Poroshenko wrote on Twitter: “After speaking by telephone to the Russian president we reached agreement on achieving a ceasefire in Donbass. Glory to Ukraine!”

He later clarified that it was a “permanent ceasefire”, presumably indicating that Kiev will now enter negotiations with Moscow and the rebel leaders in the regions, whom it has previously described as “terrorists”.

Shortly after Poroshenko’s announcement, however, RIA Novosti quoted Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying that the two leaders had not agreed on a ceasefire, as Russia is not party to the conflict, but had “discussed how to end the conflict”.

According to RT – ‘Kiev retracted its earlier statement regarding a “permanent ceasefire” in eastern Ukraine, which followed a phone call between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders. The new wording from Poroshenko’s office talks of a ceasefire “regime”.

The Russian and Ukrainian languages use the word to mean “mode”, signifying the possibility of a softer, less permanent version of the previous suggestion.

Although an earlier corresponding message from Poroshenko’s office initially talked of a “permanent ceasefire”, Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov underlined that this wording is not applicable because Russia isn’t a party to the violence.

“In the course of today’s phone call between Putin and Poroshenko there was indeed an exchange of views that went a long way toward an agreement on steps to be taken for a swift end to the clashes taking place between the Ukrainian military and south-eastern uprising,” Peskov said.

But the spokesperson thought it important to point out that because the conflict is an internal one – and not one between two countries. This view has already been voiced by President Putin last week in Minsk, where he met the Ukrainian leader.

“Frankly speaking, we can’t frame the discussion in ceasefire terms, those concerning any possible negotiations between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk – this isn’t any of our business, it is Ukraine’s,” the Russian president said then.

Donetsk authorities say they are willing to engage in a diplomatic settlement with Kiev if it proves its commitment to peace by stopping the shelling.

Ukraine’s Aydar battalion has acknowledged its readiness to carry out the order to cease fire, if such an order is given, its commander Sergey Melnichuk told local TV channel ‘112 Ukraine’.’