Steinmeier: Ukraine agrees to new ceasefire for eastern regions

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenkop agreed on Wednesday to a new ceasefire for the country's conflict-ridden eastern regions, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said after meeting with Poroshenko.

If the Ukrainian military and the pro-Russian rebels observe the ceasefire for more than a week, there will be a chance to achieve a long-term separation of the warring sides, Steinmeier said in comments carried by news agency UNIAN.

On Tuesday, the leaders of the two major pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine announced that they would ban their militias from opening fire on the Ukrainian military, starting at midnight on Wednesday.

The new ceasefire follows an escalation of violence in recent weeks amid heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

Both countries put troops on full combat alert last month after Russia accused Ukrainian forces of planning attacks in the Crimea region.

Russia occupied and annexed Crimea from Ukraine two years ago in response to Kiev ousting its pro-Russian president amid mass protests calling for closer ties with the West.

Russia has since supported the simmering separatist rebellion in Ukraine's two easternmost regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, but has denied allegations that it has provided weapons and troops for the revolt.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in the conflict, according to estimates by the United Nations.

In depth coverage

Pro-Russian rebel leaders ban opening fire on Ukrainian military

The leaders of the two major pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine announced on Tuesday that they are banning their militias from opening fire against the Ukrainian military, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

Read more
Last update: Tue, 13/09/2016 - 16:47
Last update: Thu, 15/09/2016 - 01:02

More from Europe

Hero to zero? Italy's Renzi puts career on the line in referendum

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi risks becoming Europe's youngest political has-been if Sunday's constitutional...

Ten facts about Italy's constitutional referendum

Italians will vote Sunday on a constitutional referendum that could result in major institutional changes or trigger...

Austrian presidential candidates optimistic as country repeats vote

The far-right and Green contenders for the Austrian presidency were both optimistic on Sunday as citizens cast their...

Van der Bellen, a fervent European with an immigrant background

Green presidential candidate Alexander Van der Bellen looked very presidential in May when he declared his election...

Austria's Hofer softens far-right image on path towards presidency

Vienna (dpa) - Austrian presidential candidate Norbert Hofer has tried to soften his Freedom Party's far-right,...