World / Europe

Putin, Poroshenko discuss 'steps' toward ceasefire in Ukraine

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-09-03 19:49

MOSCOW/KIEV - The Kremlin said Wednesday that Russian and Ukrainian presidents have just discussed "steps" towards a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, denying any "permanent" ceasefire agreement as Kiev announced earlier in the day.

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

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"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.

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

Earlier Wednesday, the press service of the Ukrainian president said that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed a "permanent" ceasefire in the restive eastern Ukraine.

According to the statement on the presidential website, 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 said.

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

Military 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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