Ukraine needs 'ceasefire not in name but in substance': Kiev

5th December 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukraine's foreign minister said Friday that his war-torn country needed a "real" ceasefire, a day after Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels agreed to halt fire starting on December 9.

Ukraine needs "a ceasefire not in name, but ceasefire in substance," Pavlo Klimkin told reporters in Switzerland on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) focused on the crisis in his country.

"It's about delivery for me. It's not about promises, it's about real delivery on the ground. It's what we do and not what we say," he said.

Shortly after Klimkin spoke, Ukraine's military said in Kiev said that six soldiers were killed in the past 24 hours despite both sides committing themselves to a ceasefire.

On Thursday Kiev and pro-Russian rebels said they had agreed to halt fire on December 9 in an unexpected announcement that provided a glimmer of hope that fighting across the eastern rustbelt of the ex-Soviet nation was nearing an end after eight months that saw 4,300 people killed and shattered Moscow's ties with the West.

But Klimkin stressed that so far, "we don't have a real ceasefire, it's just a ceasefire in name," pointing out that pro-Russian rebels were carrying out numerous shellings of Ukrainian troops, killing soldiers but also civilians.

"What we need is to achieve real ceasefire, to set up real control for the Russian-Ukrainian border, and of course to get a breakthrough on hostages," he said, claiming the rebels are holding some 500 hostages.

He also demanded the cancellation of the "so-called elections of November 2", held by pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine and not recognised by Ukraine or the West.

Meeting such conditions, he said, would provide "a clear line for the future and it will bring additional momentum for de-escalation in Donetsk and Lugansk, and we are very hopeful for that".

Ukraine is working to organise a meeting next week of the so-called Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine, made up of OSCE negotiators and envoys representing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian leader Vladimir Putin, along with "the terrorists from Donetsk and Lugansk", Klimkin said.

"Then we will see."

© 2014 AFP

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