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Telephone diplomacy as Ukraine prepares a ceasefire and peace plan

The Ukrainian peace plan will include more decentralization and a stronger border with Russia.
By Ed Adamczyk   |   June 20, 2014 at 12:49 PM   |   Comments

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KIEV , Ukraine, June 20 (UPI) -- Russian and Ukrainian leaders conferred on a peace plan in a late-night phone call for the second time this week, statements from both countries said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's 14-point peace plan will begin with a unilateral ceasefire, and will call for decentralization to give more authority to the country's restive eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, new elections, and stronger defenses on the border with Russia, reported Ukrainian media.

A Kremlin statement said Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Ukraine to "immediately end" military operations in the east and resolve the issues that led to the uprising there.

Two of Putin's senior advisors said Friday a Russian troop buildup on the border, observed by Ukrainian and NATO forces, was only a reinforcement of border patrols.

"Given the situation in the east, the tightening of Russian border security requires certain measures. The armed forces are being called in," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov. Yuri Ushakov, a presidential aide, agreed that while border security was being improved, it could not be considered a military deployment.

The Kremlin press service said a late-night meeting of Putin and his Security Council agreed the violence in Ukraine should stop and a dialogue should begin. It added Putin phoned German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande to express "grave concern" over Ukrainian military action in Donetsk and Luhansk.

The telephone discussions are part of the waiting game, as Poroshenko prepares his peace plan. Russia has denied aiding separatists in eastern Ukraine, but the border buildup of troops and equipment strongly suggest Russia's involvement. Meanwhile, Western countries have threatened Russia with additional sanctions if it does not help to curb violence within Ukraine.

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