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Amid conflicting reports, Russia confirms cease-fire talks with Ukraine

Amid conflicting reports and seemingly revised government statements following a phone call between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it seems both leaders have agreed to further discussions concerning a possible cease-fire.
By JC Finley Follow @OneCuriousWorld Contact the Author   |   Sept. 3, 2014 at 2:20 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Russia confirmed Wednesday that it has indeed agreed to cease-fire discussions with Ukraine.

Confusion seems to have arisen after the Ukrainian president's office issued a statement that a phone call between President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin "resulted in an agreement about a cease-fire regime in Donbas." The statement went on to assert: "There was a mutual understanding achieved about steps that will promote the establishment of peace."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected Ukraine's announcement, telling state-run Rossiya 24 that while steps needed for a lasting peace were discussed, no agreement was reached.

Poroshenko's office posted what appears to be a different statement on the presidential website later in the day, quoting the Ukrainian president as saying "we discussed with President Putin the ways to stop these terrible processes" which includes a Trilateral contact group meeting on Friday. "I really hope that a peaceful process will be initiated in Minsk on Friday," said Poroshenko in the updated statement.

Russia's presidential website acknowledged that the two leaders "expressed to a large extent similar views on possible ways out of the crisis." A possible seven-point action plan was discussed, ITAR-TASS News Agency reported.

Labeled the "Putin Plan," the Russian president told reporters on Wednesday, "I believe that the parties to the conflict should immediately agree on and coordinate the following steps:"

1. End active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas;

2. Withdraw Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems;

3. Allow for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire;

4. Exclude all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone;

5. Organize the exchange of individuals detained by force on an 'all for all' basis without any preconditions;

6. Open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass -- Donetsk and Lugansk regions;

7. Make it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.

While the Ukrainian government's response to the Putin Plan is currently unclear, it is likely to be the subject of discussion at Friday's Trilateral Council meeting.

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