Poroshenko says most Russian troops have left Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday that most Russian troops had been withdrawn from the country, in a move he said boosted the prospects for peace.

AFP| Updated: Sep 10, 2014, 16:29 PM IST

Kiev: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday that most Russian troops had been withdrawn from the country, in a move he said boosted the prospects for peace.

"According to the latest information I received from our intelligence headquarters, 70 percent of Russia`s forces have been removed," he told a cabinet meeting, according to a statement on the presidency website.

"This gives us hope that there are good prospects for the peace initiative," he said, referring to a ceasefire deal backed by Kiev and Moscow that took effect on Friday aimed at ending five months of fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists.

NATO had said last month that Russia had funnelled in at least 1,000 elite troops and heavy weaponry to support pro-Kremlin rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine, dramatically raising the stakes in the conflict.

But the truce deal appears to be holding despite both sides trading accusations of some violations, and Poroshenko has spoken with President Vladimir Putin on several occasions since it was signed.