Putin cancelling threat of force: Reports

Russian news agencies say President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament to cancel a resolution sanctioning the use of military force in Ukraine.

AP Updated: Jun 24, 2014, 19:03 PM IST

Moscow: Russian news agencies say President Vladimir Putin has asked parliament to cancel a resolution sanctioning the use of military force in Ukraine.

Dmitry Peskov said today that Putin wrote to the head of Russia`s upper house of parliament asking that his March 1 request for approval of the use of force be withdrawn, the agencies reported.

Putin issued the request to parliament after Ukraine`s pro-Russian president was ousted in February following months of street protests. In March, Ukraine`s Black Sea region of Crimea was annexed by Russia with the help of troops, which Putin later admitted were Russian army forces.

The move comes as rebel leaders of the pro-Russian insurgency in east Ukraine announced yesterday that that they would respect a cease-fire declared by Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko last week, raising hopes for an end to months of fighting that killed hundreds.

The cease-fire appeared to be largely holding today. Vladislav Seleznev, a spokesman for Ukraine`s operation in the east, said rebel forces attacked a Ukrainian base north of Slovyansk late yesterday, but there had been no fighting overnight.

Some soldiers at a government-controlled checkpoint in Dovhenko, 50 kilometers north of the rebel stronghold of Slovyansk, were seen relaxing near the barricades today, while others engaged in shooting drills nearby.