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Kiev: 70 percent of Russian troops have withdrawn from Ukraine as fragile cease-fire continues

The Ukrainian government confirmed Wednesday that most Russian troops have withdrawn from embattled eastern Ukraine as the fragile cease-fire holds between Ukrainian armed forces and Russian-backed rebels.

By
JC Finley
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Wednesday that recent intelligence shows 70 percent of Russian troops inside Ukraine have withdrawn.(UPI/Ivan Vakolenko)
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Wednesday that recent intelligence shows 70 percent of Russian troops inside Ukraine have withdrawn.(UPI/Ivan Vakolenko) | License Photo

KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced Wednesday that recent intelligence shows 70 percent of Russian troops inside Ukraine have withdrawn.

Poroshenko hailed this development amid a very fragile cease-fire in embattled eastern Ukraine, telling his Cabinet members that the country must be united in order to achieve "peace in Ukraine."

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"Today, future developments depend on our joint efficient and coordinated work, on the unity of the whole country...

"We are going to establish order in the organization of management of troops, when the front line, the line of defense will be maintained by the brigades, when battalions of territorial defense will have their own tasks not in direct clash with the enemy, but in the defense of territory. When integrated units of the Ministry of the Interior will have their own function and protect the cities liberated from occupants. When the National Bank will have its exclusive function and engage in its exclusive tasks."

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On Tuesday, Poroshenko spoke by phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the Ukrainian president's press office, "The parties discussed a complex of issues related to the maintenance of the cease-fire regime," adding, "The presidents agreed to keep these issues under constant control."

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Under the cease-fire agreement, Russian-backed rebels and the Ukrainian government are also engaged in prisoner exchanges. On Monday, Poroshenko reiterated Kiev's demand that Russian troops withdraw from Ukrainian territory, a demand that seems -- for now -- to have been heeded.

Russia had previously denied its military was engaged in fighting or had crossed into Ukraine.

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Another round of trilateral peace talks is expected to be held in the next week.

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