SOCHI, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - There is still a chance that conflicting sides in Ukraine could reach a peaceful settlement, but the continuing use of force could bring the situation into a deadlock, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.
"God forbid if someone would be tempted again to use force in search for solutions of this problem in southeastern Ukraine - it would only bring the situation in a deadlock," Putin said at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in the Russian Black Sea Resort of Sochi.
"I think there is still a chance for the sides to come to an agreement," Putin said.
"The priority is to stop the war immediately," he said, adding that it was the only way to revive the dialogue between Kiev and Donbas.
A military confrontation in the southeastern regions of Ukraine started in mid-April, when the Kiev government sent forces to suppress independence supporters who refused to recognize the government that came to power after a coup in February.
The warring sides agreed to a ceasefire on September 5 following the talks in Minsk and adopted a memorandum specifying steps for the ceasefire implementation on September 19. However, the Kiev forces and the independent supporters have repeatedly accused one another of violating the truce.
Russia has consistently called on the opposing sides to cease military action and to stop the bloodshed, pointing out that a political settlement of the crisis was needed.
According to the UN estimates, the confrontation in eastern Ukraine has claimed the lives of more than 3,700 people, with over 9,000 being injured.