News / Europe

Separatists Reject Ukraine Cease-Fire

Pro-Russian troops prepare to travel in a tank on a road near the town of Yanakiyevo in eastern Ukraine, Friday, June 20, 2014.
Pro-Russian troops prepare to travel in a tank on a road near the town of Yanakiyevo in eastern Ukraine, Friday, June 20, 2014.
VOA News
Pro-Russian separatists rejected a unilateral cease-fire declared by Ukraine's newly inaugurated president, casting doubt on the new effort to end the conflict in the country's east that has killed hundreds.

Ukraine's border guard service said rebels attacked one of its posts in the Donetsk region overnight, hours after President Petro Poroshenko ordered the halt in fighting. At least three guards were injured, the agency said.

The cease-fire announced Friday was the latest attempt to try to tamp down the fighting that has seen Russian-backed fighters seize towns and arsenals around Donetsk and eastern regions over the past two months.

Poroshenko's order told Ukraine's military and security forces to halt operations for seven days and urged rebels to lay down their arms. 

The 14-point plan would set up a demilitarized zone along the Ukrainian-Russian border and provide an escape corridor for mercenaries that the Ukrainian government has said are in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has sent mixed signals both about ending support for the separatists and backing a lasting peace deal.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denounced the cease-fire as an "ultimatum." In a statement, the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin supported Poroshenko's call. 

"However, the Russian head of state drew attention to the fact that the proposed plan without practical actions aimed at the beginning of the negotiation process will not be viable and realistic," the Kremlin said. 

Also Saturday, the Kremlin announced that Putin had put troops in central Russia on "combat alert" for snap drills. Russian officials say the drills involve some 65,000 troops, in a region that does not border Ukraine.

A NATO military officer told VOA Friday that the presence of new Russian troops near the border with Ukraine do not appear to be engaged in "border patrol" duties, but instead seem to be concentrating in staging areas and preparing and awaiting future orders.

He said the new troops were not "an encouraging sign."

Deputy White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Friday the United States is concerned about the buildup.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the deployment had been planned in advance and was designed to reinforce Russia's border controls.

Ukraine and Russia have been locked in a standoff since late February when violent protests forced Viktor Yanukovych from the presidency and Russian forces moved into Crimea. Russia later annexed the Black Sea peninsula in March, and in April, the insurgency erupted in Ukraine's east.

VOA Pentagon correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed material to this report.

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Comments
     
by: Grumpy Old Man from: Laguna Beach, Ca, USA
June 22, 2014 5:21 PM
EU plot to enmesh Ukraine in claws of EU. Russian sphere of influence. Respect Russia for a change.
In Response

by: Goldingen from: Mittawa
June 23, 2014 2:56 AM
These preconditions for peace are not sufficient. Why not adding some more terms: US should leave Alaska, Karlshorst in East Berlin should be returned to their afterwar owners and Snowden must be appointed Director of the Central Intelligence Agency?

by: Goldingen from: Mittawa
June 22, 2014 10:40 AM
In the Ukraine presidential elections the candidate from the right-wing party gained only 0.7 percent of the votes and the candidate from another right party "Freedom" received just 1,16 per cent.This is much less than the % gained by the right parties in the last parlamentary elections in EU. The people in Ukraine are no more fascists than the victims of Stalin's showtrials.

by: fare from: Hungary
June 22, 2014 2:20 AM
The West betrayed Ukrainians and left them alone to face Russia's tanks.

by: Vannak from: usa
June 22, 2014 12:02 AM
Where are tanks of separatis come from? Russia ? Asenal of Ukrain force? No one know. But how many tanks they have? How many dies in next fighting. Prosenko should analy again your goverment face two thing now. 1 is war again separatis . 2 is gas war. If you can not solve immediately your people will face badly catastrophe. Today one thing that governor can not decide quickly is the nationalis . So before do next step you should explain your people what is your goal. In thailand there are serious problems because nationalish . The same in Egype Iraq Afanistan .... Prosenko you can not use other country hand to solve your problems.
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
June 22, 2014 7:14 AM
Vannak, wish you would ask an American friend to help with your English. Since all opinions and comments in this forum are valuable to all of us, we don't want our messages to be misunderstood. But I would like to retort about your last comment about Poroshenko not to get help from other countries to solve his problems. So why didn't you say the same for the rebels then? If I have mistaken you to be Russian, then I apologize. Otherwise, Russia is helping the seperatists, so it would be fair for Ukraine to get international help as well, right? Or is your opinion just biased?

by: meanbill from: USA
June 21, 2014 6:26 PM
Nothing the no-Nazi, Right Sector, and other ultra-right wing extremists that seized the Ukraine government by force, and the newly elected Ukraine President Poroshenko differ in anything from the first original ultimatum given to the pro-Russian separatists. -- (It's (40) years of war or more, rather than sit down and drink tea together, and talk?)
In Response

by: 1worldnow from: Earth
June 22, 2014 7:26 AM
Yep, Ukraine is for Ukraine people. Good point. So if people there are pro-Russian, then why not just move to Russia? Ukraine was a nation, before the soviets took it! Even when Ukraine was Russian for all those decades, Ukranians would be offended to be called Russian. That is old news there. Again, pro-Russian people living there already knew this about the pride of Ukraine and their love of independence from the opressive Rusian government. So, again, why not just carry their pro-Russian a$$e$ to Russia, instead of trying to take over a country that has absolutely no desire to be Russian in any way shape or form? These pro-Russian people were there in a sovereign nation simply because Russia took it by force. So now we should feel any support for people who didn't belong there in the first place? The Ukranians should have the right to kick them all out and live in the beloved Russian country they so desire to become.
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 21, 2014 7:39 PM
Ukraine lands are for Ukrainians people

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