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Putin outlines plan to settle Ukraine crisis

Posted on Sep 04 2014 | IANS

Moscow, Sep 3 : Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday proposed a seven-point plan to deal with the Ukraine crisis after the Kremlin said Russian and Ukrainian presidents discussed "steps" towards a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, denying any "permanent" ceasefire agreement as Kiev announced earlier in the day.

The Kremlin press service, citing Putin's remarks to reporters during a visit to Mongolia, posted the plan on its official website, Xinhua reported.

The plan calls for an end to active offensive operations by armed forces and armed militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas. It also presses for the withdrawal of Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems.

It allows for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and that of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire, and excludes all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone.

In addition, the plan includes the organising of the exchange of individuals detained by force on an all for all basis without any preconditions, and open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass-Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

The plan urges to make it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.

Earlier Wednesday, the Kremlin said Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussed "steps" towards a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, denying any "permanent" ceasefire agreement as Kiev announced earlier in the day.

The press service of the Ukrainian president said that Poroshenko and Putin have agreed to a "permanent" ceasefire in the restive eastern Ukraine.

According to the statement, the agreement was reached during a telephone conversation between the two leaders.

"The agreement on a permanent ceasefire in the Donbass was the result of the conversation. Mutual understanding was reached regarding the steps that will contribute to peace," the statement on the Ukraine's presidential website said.

Peskov declined to say if the two presidents planned for more direct contact in the near future.

"It is not the question of a ceasefire agreement," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov later told a Russian radio station.

"It is about the presidents discussing concrete steps to promote a ceasefire between the militia and the Ukrainian forces in the southeast of the country," he said.

Russia, he noted, is physically unable to negotiate the ceasefire as it is not one of its sides.

Peskov said the leaders' views on possible ways to overcome the grave and critical situation "coincide to a considerable degree".

The Ukrainian government has not yet commented on the Putin plan.

Clashes between Ukrainian government troops and independence-seeking militia, which started in March, have claimed at least 2,600 lives with hundreds of thousands others displaced.

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