Home / World

Putin: Ukraine solution 'very close'

By Reuters in Ulan Bator, Mongolia and Kiev | China Daily | Updated: 2014-09-04 07:09

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday his views and those of his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko were "very close" on finding a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine, and called for both sides to observe a cease-fire.

Outlining what he said was a seven-step plan "to end the bloodshed", Putin suggested Kiev and the rebels could reach an agreement at a meeting of the international contact group on Ukraine on Friday in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

Putin's proposals included calls for both the rebels and Ukraine to halt military operations. He called on Ukraine to move its forces back from the front lines and refrain from shelling in civilian areas.

 Putin: Ukraine solution 'very close'

Andrei Stenin, a photographer working for the Russian RIA Novosti press agency in Kiev. Stenin, who went missing in early August, has been found dead in Ukraine, the RIA-Novosti press agency announced on Wednesday. Provided by Agence France-Presse

"Our views on the way to resolve the conflict, as it seemed to me, are very close," Putin told reporters in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, confirming he had spoken to Poroshenko by telephone earlier on Wednesday. "I have drafted ideas for a plan of action."

The Kremlin said earlier on Wednesday that both presidents had agreed on steps toward peace in eastern Ukraine, but denied a statement from Poroshenko's press office that they had reached a truce, saying Russia was not a party to the conflict.

Putin also called for international observers to monitor a possible cease-fire and create what he called a "zone of safety" on the ground in eastern Ukraine.

A prisoner exchange between the two sides and a humanitarian corridor for the safe passage of refugees, aid and the wounded were among the steps he listed for a resolution of the conflict.

The contact group, in which Ukraine is informally represented by its former president Leonid Kuchma, met for preliminary talks earlier this week.

Separatist leaders, Moscow's ambassador to Kiev and a senior official for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe also took part in those talks on Monday in Minsk.

"I very much count on Ukrainian leadership supporting this emergent progress in bilateral relations and using the positive work of the contact group to achieve a final and comprehensive resolution of the situation," Putin said.

NATO membership bid

Earlier, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk reaffirmed Kiev's desire to join the NATO alliance, which will hold a two-day summit this week..

"Concerning NATO, I consider the most correct decision would be one to accept Ukraine as a member of NATO," Yatseniuk said.

Last week, Yatseniuk announced plans to submit a draft a law in parliament to scrap Ukraine's nonaligned status and steer a course toward NATO membership.

Commenting on his country's energy woes, Yatseniuk said Ukraine needed to buy some 25 billion cubic meters of natural gas to meet its annual needs. Russia cut off its exports to Ukraine in July in a dispute over pricing.

Ukraine's security council said the separatists also posed a threat to Europe's imports of Russian gas.

"Mercenaries have begun actions which may lead to the destruction of the gas transit system on the temporarily occupied territory (of eastern Ukraine)," the council's press service said in a statement.

"This may pose a threat to supplies of gas to Europe."

Half of Russian gas exports to Europe cross Ukrainian territory, including parts of the east now in rebel hands.

(China Daily 09/04/2014 page11)

Today's Top News

Editor's picks

Most Viewed

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349