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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, examines the construction of fortifications in Donetsk region, Ukraine (File)

    Poroshenko Orders Troops in East Ukraine to Cease Fire on April 1

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    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered national armed forces to stop fire in the country’s east starting next month, his spokesman said Thursday.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — Russia's envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukrainian reconciliation Boris Gryzlov on Wednesday said the group coordinated a new ceasefire along the separation line in Donbass for the duration of the Easter holidays starting on April 1.

    The presidential order was issued after a contract group in Minsk agreed Wednesday on a ceasefire in war-torn Donbass starting at midnight on April 1.

    "The president has given all necessary orders to the General Staff and the defense minister on the ceasefire regime starting on April 1," Svyatoslav Tsegolko tweeted.

    Militias in eastern Ukraine earlier confirmed they would stick to the deal brokered by the Minsk contact group to end fighting, which has already claimed 10,000 lives since 2014, according to UN figures.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.


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