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Rebels Agree to Abide by Cease-Fire in Ukraine

Published: June 25, 2014 (Issue # 1817)


DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russian insurgents in eastern Ukraine agreed Monday to respect a cease-fire declared by the Ukrainian president, raising hopes for an end to months of fighting that have killed hundreds and ravaged the country’s industrial heartland.

The announcement came as the Russian and U.S. presidents traded demands over the conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin urged direct talks between the government and the rebels. President Barack Obama warned Putin that Moscow will face additional costs if it does not help ease the crisis.

The insurgents’ pledge to respect the cease-fire came on the first day of talks between a former Ukrainian president, the Russian ambassador, European officials and the eastern separatists who have declared independence. While the government side was nominally not represented, ex-President Leonid Kuchma attended the discussions at the request of the sitting president.

The negotiations were launched in line with President Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan, which started June 20 with a weeklong unilateral cease-fire in the fighting that has killed more than 350 people and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

Alexander Borodai, one of the rebel leaders who took part in Monday’s talks in Donetsk, said rebels would respect Poroshenko’s cease-fire, which lasts through 0700 GMT (11 a.m. Moscow Time) Friday.

The insurgents had previously demanded the Ukrainian military withdraw its troops from the east as a condition for any talks, so Borodai’s statement represented a softened stance that raised expectations that the cease-fire could hold. Even before the insurgents made their pledge, the government said that there had been no fighting in the east since Monday morning.

Since the cease-fire was declared June 20, the Ukrainian government has accused the rebels of firing at government positions, while insurgents blamed Ukrainian forces for failing to honor the promise to halt hostilities. Poroshenko has said government troops will fire back if attacked.

The rebels, who have declared regions on border with Russia independent and fought government troops for two months, also promised to release observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe who have been held hostage.

“This will be one of the steps that will improve the mutual understanding of both sides,” said Alexei Karyakin, a representative of the insurgents in the Luhansk region.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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