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Ukraine’s new Western-backed leader and Russian President Vladimir Putin both called for dialogue Sunday to end a pro-Moscow uprising that has threatened the ex-Soviet state’s survival and brought Europe to the edge of all-out war.
The twin calls from the central figures of the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War era both came with conditions and the ragtag militias in Ukraine’s eastern rustbelt showing no desire to end their independence drive.
“It’s necessary to start detailed, substantial dialogue,” Putin told reporters. “This will guarantee success.” Putin made his comments after Ukraine’s new Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko said he was prepared to talk to those separatists not implicated in “murder and torture” as he laid out the details of a new peace plan.
“Russia will certainly support these intentions. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is a political process. It’s important for dialogue between all warring parties to originate on the basis of this peace plan,” Putin said in televised remarks.
For the peace plan to work, Russian speakers in the separatist east should feel they are “an inalienable part” of Ukraine and know that their rights are guaranteed by the constitution, Putin said.
Putin also told his German and French counterparts the Ukraine peace plan should be “backed up” with a de-facto ceasefire, the Kremlin said.
“Putin backed the decision by PA Poroshenko to carry out a peace plan,” the readout of the phone conversation read. The Ukrainian forces seven-day ceasefire began last Friday as part of a peace plan by President Poroshenko.
Poroshenko — who will crown his election promise by signing a historic EU trade pact in Brussels on Friday that pulls Kiev further out of the Kremlin’s reach — called a peaceful settlement “our plan A”.