“We sincerely strive to help the peace process,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told delegates at a reception in the Kremlin.
In the final hours of the short-term ceasefire in the crisis-torn east of Ukraine, Putin called for a long-term truce in the area to allow for talks between Kyiv and representatives from the eastern regions.
“We stand for the complete termination of bloodshed on the whole territory of Ukraine, including along our borders,” he announced. “Ukraine should embark on the path of peace, dialogue and accord. The priority is to conduct substantial talks between the authorities in Kyiv and representatives from the south-east regions.”
Yet a day earlier, Russian, Belarussian and Armenian troops came together to stage military drills in the Volgograd region, some 400 kilometres from the Ukrainian border.
Routinely involved in the exercise, Ukraine was not invited to participate this time, according to Russian army representatives.