Kiev Mulls Next Step as Ceasefire Set to Expire
KIEV, June 27 (RIA Novosti) – The government in Kiev is considering its next step in the turbulent southeastern regions as the ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and independence forces expires Friday evening, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council said.
"The temporary unilateral ceasefire expires at 10:00 p.m. [local time, 19:00 GMT] in accordance with the Ukrainian president's plan for peaceful settlement in eastern Ukrainian regions," Andriy Lysenko told reporters.
"The decision about further actions after 10:00 p.m. will be made by the supreme leadership of the state later in the day," the spokesman said.
Last Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered a week-long ceasefire in the country's east and unveiled a 15-point peace plan, which included guarantees to militia troops who agreed to lay down their arms before the ceasefire expires on June 27.
On Monday, talks on the implementation of the peace plan were held in Donetsk. 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.
Violence in southeastern Ukraine has been on the rise since the beginning of a punitive operation launched by the Kiev authorities in mid-April that has claimed hundreds of lives.
In June, Kiev's military operation caused a drastic increase in the number of refugees fleeing to Russia. Some 10,000 Ukrainian refugees arrive in southern Russia's Rostov Region every day. Almost 220 temporary accommodation facilities have been established in southern and central Russia, which currently host 110,000 people, including 5,400 children.
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