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Iran Press TV

Russia calls off mandate to send troops to Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Wed Jun 25, 2014 12:11PM GMT

Russia's upper house of parliament has voted to call off a resolution allowing President Vladimir Putin to deploy troops to Ukraine.

On Wednesday, 153 members of the Russian Federation Council voted in favor of canceling the resolution, while one voted against.

A senior Russian lawmaker said the move should be seen as an act of goodwill to help facilitate peace efforts in Ukraine, adding that the Federation Council is ready to reinstate the resolution if needed.

The move has been welcomed by Kiev as Moscow's first practical step toward easing Ukraine's tensions in the eastern regions.

The vote came a day after Putin asked lawmakers to annul his March 1 request for using troops in Ukraine to protect Russian nationals in the country, following the ouster of Ukraine's former president, Viktor Yanukovych.

Putin said the new measure is intended to help support the peace process in Ukraine. A process which began on June 20 when Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko ordered a week-long unilateral ceasefire aimed at deescalating tensions.

The two mainly Russian-speaking provinces of Donetsk and Lugansk have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia protesters and the Ukrainian army since Kiev's military operation started in mid-April. The violence intensified after the regions held local referendums on May 11, in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine.

Ukraine and its Western allies accuse the Kremlin of fuelling the fighting in Ukraine's eastern regions by backing armed forces. Russia has, however, denied the allegations.

According to recent figures released by Ivan Simonovic, the UN assistant secretary general for human rights, 423 people were killed in clashes in east Ukraine from April 15 to June 20.

CAH/AB/SS



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