On the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Ukraine’s leaders and the rebels in the east to start a genuine dialogue.
He added Kyiv should stop military operations and guarantee the rights of Russian speakers. Ukraine began a unilateral ceasefire on Friday.
“It’s necessary to start detailed, substantial dialogue. This is the key to success. Unfortunately, what we see according to objective monitoring tells us that the military actions continue,” said Putin In Moscow.
Rebels rejected the ceasefire offer and launched several attacks on Ukrainian positions on Saturday, and there was also at least one cross-border incident between Russia and Ukraine.
In Kyiv President Petro Poroshenko was also honouring the world war two dead, laying flowers at the flame of the unknown soldier. Three former Ukrainian presidents have also written to Putin calling on him to stop the fighting.
“The issue of war has again become a reality in Ukraine. The smell, the stench of war is in the air today. That’s why I made a decision to give peace a chance,” he said.
However in Dontesk, the commemoration ceremony was accompanied by the swearing-in of new troops loyal to the rebel cause. They vowed to continue the fight against Kyiv, and denounced the ceasefire. It is due to last for a week during which Poroshenko hopes talks can take place, but there are few signs yet that this is going to happen, and it is unclear if the rebels are listening to their main backer, Putin, any more.