Moscow Would Welcome Truce in Ukraine, Not Postponement of Ultimatum – Lavrov
MOSCOW, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday Moscow would welcome a longer truce between the warring parties in Ukraine, but warned it should not resemble a "postponement of ultimatum."
Commenting on media reports that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is ready to extend the ceasefire by 72 hours, the Russian foreign policy chief said "this fact should be welcomed, but we hope that it would not be just a 72-hour postponement of the ultimatum."
The ceasefire between government forces and eastern Ukrainian independence supporters is to end at 10.00 p.m. local time [19:00 GMT] Friday.
Last Friday, President Poroshenko unilaterally ordered a week-long ceasefire in the country's east and unveiled a 15-point peace plan, which included guarantees to independence troops agreeing to lay down their arms before the ceasefire elapsed.
Independence forces said they were ready to observe the ceasefire, but the truce has been shaky ever since, with both parties blaming each other for sporadic outbreaks of violence committed even after the deal. The Kremlin said last week that Poroshenko's announcement was more of an ultimatum to the protesters to surrender than an invitation to negotiations.
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