Donetsk (Ukraine) : Ukraine brushed off strong European pressure as it rejected talks with pro-Russian rebels on a truce to halt a bloody insurgency convulsing the ex-Soviet nation until they laid down their arms, reports AFP.
The unconditional stance reflected a new confidence in Kiev that it was on the verge of quashing a rebellion it views as Moscow’s retribution for the February ouster of a Kremlin-backed leader and the decision to pursue a historic alliance with the West.
But it was also bound to both frustrate EU leaders pushing for a diplomatic solution to the continent’s worst crisis in decades, and Kremlin efforts to force Kiev to make compromises that would preserve the Russian-speaking east’s ties to Moscow.
“Now, any negotiations
are possible only after
the rebels completely lay down their arms,” Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey said.
Obama, Hollande call on Putin to pressure rebels
France and the US have urged President Putin to pressure pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine to agree a dialogue on reaching a ceasefire with Kiev, reports AFP. Presidents Hollande and Obama spoke by telephone “called on President Putin to pressure the separatists so that they agree to a dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities and to reinforce control over the Russian-Ukrainian border,” said a French presidency statement.