News / Europe

    Ukraine, Russian Envoys Reach 'Mutual Understanding' on Parts of Peace Plan

    An armed pro-Russian separatist with attached orange ribbon of St. George, a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, stands guard at a road checkpoint outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, June 8, 2014.
    An armed pro-Russian separatist with attached orange ribbon of St. George, a symbol widely associated with pro-Russian protests in Ukraine, stands guard at a road checkpoint outside the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, June 8, 2014.
    VOA News
    Ukraine's foreign ministry says it has reached a "mutual understanding" with Russia on key stages of a peace plan for eastern Ukraine.

    A ministry statement Monday offered no details, after a second day of negotiations in Kyiv mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  

    But the statement said the contact group has agreed to continue talks aimed at ending fighting in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.

    The talks follow a face-to-face meeting last week between Russian President Vladimir Putin and new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko - the first high-level contact between the two governments since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in March.

    Since Poroshenko's May 25 election, Ukraine forces have strengthened military operations aimed at regaining control of key government facilities seized by pro-Russian separatists near the Russian border.  Casualties have mounted on both sides, and the Ukrainian leader has demanded an immediate withdrawal of Russian support for the rebellion.

    In his inaugural address Saturday, Poroshenko insisted that Crimea is and will remain Ukrainian.  But he also pledged to establish dialogue in the Russian-speaking east aimed at easing political and ethnic tensions.  Moscow has demanded such talks as the basis for any future bilateral cooperation.

    In other developments, Ukrainian and Russian energy negotiators met late Monday in Brussels in a push to resolve a natural gas dispute that threatens supplies to energy-dependent Ukraine.

    Moscow last month threatened to cut off supplies as early as Tuesday, if Ukraine does not pay its existing multi-billion dollar energy debt.  Kyiv has since made partial payments, while both governments have voiced cautious optimism a pricing deal on future deliveries can be reached.
     
    • A pro-Russian fighter checks documents of a woman leaving the city at a checkpoint in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, June 12, 2014.
    • A man carries his belongings from an apartment building damaged from shelling in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, June 12, 2014.
    • Maidan self-defence activists take part in a protest outside the headquarters of the National Border Guard in Kyiv, June 12, 2014.
    • Pro-Russian fighters from a group that calls itself "Russian Orthodox Army" guard at a check point in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 10, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian fighter from a group that calls itself "Russian Orthodox Army" guards at a check point in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, June 10, 2014.
    • Orthodox clergymen take part in a prayer for peace in front of a cathedral in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, June 9, 2014.
    • People carry their belongings using a bicycle as they leave Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2014.
    • A resident shows an apartment building damaged by a mortar attack by Ukrainian government troops in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2014.
    • A woman walks past a gas station damaged by a mortar attack by Ukrainian government troops in Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, June 9, 2014.
    • A pro-Russian man tries to remove a Ukrainian national emblem from the gates to the city administration headquarters in Luhansk, Ukraine, June 9, 2014.

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