Ukraine Contact Group meets to discuss ceasefire plan
A planned ceasefire between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels could go into effect Friday following talks on the truce amongst representatives of the involved parties, the Belorussian foreign ministry has announced.
Discussing the plan in the Belorussian capital of Minsk is the so-called Contact Group for Ukraine, which includes representatives from Ukraine, Russia, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the pro-Russian separatists.
The meeting was set to begin at 10 a.m. GMT, the ministry said, and if all sides agree, a permanent ceasefire could go into effect as soon as 11 a.m. GMT.
It would be the first in the months-old conflict in which hundreds of civilians have died in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Lugansk and triggered tensions between Russia and the West.
"Ukraine has never wanted war, is tired of war and will do everything possible for peace to come to its land," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday at the NATO summit taking place in Wales.
Poroshenko said he believed that the "first step towards peace is a ceasefire, resolute actions will facilitate disarmament, nationwide dialogue (and) adoption of respective legislative acts that will bring continuous stability in Donetsk and Lugansk regions".
On Thursday, the pro-Russian fighters expressed their willingness to declare a ceasefire if the Ukrainian Air Force halted its attacks on their territory.
(Posted on 05-09-2014)