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Kyiv calls Easter truce amid continuing stand-off in eastern Ukraine


Ukraine

Kyiv calls Easter truce amid continuing stand-off in eastern Ukraine

Ukraine has suspended military operations against pro-Russia militants during Easter, according to the country’s foreign minister.

The stand-off comes as separatists continue to occupy many public buildings.

They remain defiant, refusing to budge until Kyiv meets their demands.

One woman, manning barricades in the city of Slaviansk, said: ‘‘We will take down the barricades when they go peacefully. When they accept our demands, when they listen to us. We want a regional referendum.’‘

Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia has said the anti-terrorist operation to remove the separatists will re-start if they do not quit government buildings.

On Thursday, Ukraine and Russia, together with the EU and US, struck a diplomatic deal in the Swiss city of Geneva for separatists to withdraw and hand in their weapons.

So far, however, there has been no sign of that happening.

On Friday, Denis Pushilin, the self-styled leader of the “Donetsk People’s Republic” said he and his supporters would stay until a referendum was held on the region’s future status.

Pro-Russian militias, who have occupied buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities, are also calling for the resignation of the country’s interim government.

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