Ukraine president declines Putin's peace plan: Putin spokesman
Iran Press TV
Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:27PM
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has declined a Russian-proposed plan for peace between his government and pro-Russia forces in the east, says a spokesman for the Russian president.
'On Thursday night, Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a written message to Ukrainian President Poroshenko, in which both sides of the conflict were offered a concrete plan for removal of heavy artillery," Dmitry Peskov said late on Sunday.
In the message, Putin proposed 'urgent measures for the cessation of mutual shelling, and also the rapid withdrawal by the sides in the conflict of means of destruction.'
Poroshenko, however, rejected the plan without offering alternatives and "moreover started military actions all over again," Peskov noted.
Meanwhile, clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russia forces in the eastern parts of the country intensified, with heavy gunfire and explosions shaking the area around Donetsk International Airport. Ukrainian military claimed later in the day that it captured most of the airport.
At least 14 people, including four soldiers, were killed, a number of houses were demolished and electricity was cut for many homes and businesses as blasts repeatedly rocked parts of Donetsk.
The attacks came in violation of a shaky ceasefire agreement reached in September last year in the Belarusian capital Minsk, following mediation by Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Also on Sunday, thousands of people held a peace rally attended by Poroshenko in the capital Kiev.
Ukraine's mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence protests there in mid-April 2014.
According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 4,800 people have been killed in the fighting.
Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine, an allegation Moscow categorically denies.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|