Ukraine says Russia withdrawing forces from east, sees boost for peace

KIEV – Ukraine’s President, Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday in Kiev that Russia had removed the bulk of its forces from his country.

He said the move has raised hopes for a peace drive, now underway after five months of conflict in which more than 3,000 people have been killed.

Poroshenko said even though Moscow denied arming the separatists, there are overwhelming evidence to the contrary. [eap_ad_2] He said Ukraine would remain a sovereign, united country under the terms of a peace roadmap approved last Friday, but said parts of the east under rebel control would get special status.

“According to the latest information I have received from our intelligence, 70 per cent of Russian troops have been moved back across the border,” he said.

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“This further strengthens our hope that the peace initiatives have good prospects,’’ he added.

Poroshenko said the ceasefire was not proving easy to maintain because terrorists” were constantly trying to provoke Kiev’s forces.

He said Ukraine’s military recorded at least six violations of the ceasefire overnight, but with no casualties.

Poroshenko said Ukraine was regrouping its forces in eastern Ukraine, not in preparation for a new offensive against the rebels, as they have suggested, but in order to defend territory from possible attack by the separatists.

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Poroshenko were broadly satisfied with how the ceasefire, in place for nearly five days, was holding in Ukraine. (Reuters/NAN)[eap_ad_3]

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