`Durable ceasefire` needed to launch Ukraine negotiations

Russia`s foreign ministry today said that a "durable ceasefire" was needed in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Moscow rebels before peace negotiations could start.

AFP| Last Updated: Jun 23, 2014, 14:28 PM IST

Moscow: Russia`s foreign ministry today said that a "durable ceasefire" was needed in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Moscow rebels before peace negotiations could start.

"At the moment, a durable ceasefire is needed as an irreversible condition for starting practical steps towards a binding dialogue between the authorities in Kiev and representatives of protesters in southeast Ukraine," the ministry said following a phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Ukraine`s new Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko has put in place a week-long unilateral ceasefire but fighting has rumbled on as pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have refused to heed calls to silence their guns.

Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both urged dialogue to end the pro-Moscow uprising that has threatened the ex-Soviet state`s survival.

Poroshenko has called a peaceful settlement Kiev`s "plan A" but warned that the Ukrainian authorities will deal with anyone who uses the negotiations to "buy time and regroup their forces."

Putin has promised to stand behind Poroshenko`s peace efforts as long as they led to "substantial dialogue" and resulted in ethnic Russians winning broader language and other civil rights.