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'Real truce' has begun in Ukraine, says Poroshenko

Update: October, 08/2015 - 10:14

KIEV — President Petro Poroshenko has said a "real truce" had begun in eastern Ukraine but a long-lasting peace with pro-Kremlin insurgents would still take some time.

His upbeat comments come with EU nations -- struggling with a migrants crisis -- hoping for signs of a de-escalation after the conflict stoked tensions in eastern Europe.

"There has not been a single shot fired," the pro-Western leader said on Wednesday in a televised address to students undergoing military training in Kiev.

But he added: "This is still not peace. This is not the end of the war.

"The end of war will come when every patch of Ukrainian soil is liberated from the enemy, the occupant, the aggressor. But this is not simply a ceasefire -- this is a real truce."

His point was underscored when the Ukrainian army later accused the rebels of "cynically" firing a rocket that injured four government troops.

Poroshenko's remarks came a day after the separatists delayed until next year local elections they had planned for the coming weeks.

Poroshenko had called the planned elections "fake" and branded them another example of the rebels' refusal to commit to a truce agreed in February.

The ceasefire was often broken but has largely held in the past month.

Moscow and Brussels also welcomed the rebels' announcement on the elections. Western diplomats believe the delay gives time for polls to be conducted in line with Ukrainian and international laws. — AFP


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