Ukraine leader vows peace 'roadmap'

Aug 27, 2014, 2:44 AM EDT
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko.
AFP/Getty Images

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says a "roadmap" will be prepared to end fighting between troops and pro-Russian separatists in the east. According to the BBC:

He was speaking after holding his first direct talks on the crisis with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Belarus. Mr Putin said Russia would assist a dialogue, but stopping the fighting was a matter for Ukraine itself.

Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of arming the rebels, a claim repeatedly denied by the Kremlin. "A roadmap will be prepared in order to achieve, as soon as possible, a ceasefire regime which absolutely must be bilateral in character," Mr Poroshenko said after two hours of talks with Mr Putin in the Belarusian capital, Minsk.

Earlier this year, Mr Poroshenko declared a unilateral ceasefire but accused the rebels of not following suit.

Face-to-face talks between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents failed to produce a breakthrough for ending the conflict over eastern Ukraine, as Kiev released videos of captured Russian soldiers and rebels pushed toward a government-held city. The Wall Street Journal reports:

The one-on-one session, which Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko described as "tough and complex," ended early Wednesday after a day of talks on the crisis in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

Mr. Poroshenko said afterward that he would prepare a "road map" toward a possible cease-fire with the pro-Russia separatists, according to a statement carried by news agencies. Russia's President Vladimir Putin expressed support as well as apparent skepticism.

"Russia will do everything possible for the peace process, if it begins," he told reporters separately, adding that it "should get started as soon as possible." Mr. Putin also played down the significance of the Russian troops caught on the Ukrainian side of the border this week. Just ahead of the talks, Ukraine released videotaped interrogations of the soldiers, who it said were part of a column of Russian infantry vehicles that its forces had attacked on Monday.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the soldiers had strayed accidentally into Ukraine while patrolling an unmarked section of the border, according to the news agency Interfax.