The Ukrainian government has met in Kyiv to assess the progress in the ceasefire in the east of the country, and to debate a “special regime” for Luhansk and Donetsk that may go some way to satisfying their demands for autonomy.
On the ceasefire President Petro Poroshenko sounded quietly optimistic.
“Seventy percent of Russian troops have now withdrawn from Ukraine. This is strong evidence that peaceful initiatives are promising,” he told his ministers.
Poroshenko also signed a law many say was overdue barring nearly 172 individuals and 65 companies from doing business with Russia; effectively, Ukrainian sanctions. He added he would present the “special regime” law for the East in parliament next week.
“Next week this draft law will be presented to parliament. And I underline that the future of the peace depends on it. This law ensures a peaceful bringing of these regions back under Ukrainian sovereignty,” he said.
Ukraine says some of its positions remain under fire despite the truce, and it will also be bolstering its defences, creating a new defensive line with tanks and anti-artillery systems in the meantime.
Euronews’ Angelina Kariakina in Kyiv reported: “Strengthening defences and building up lines of fortifications – this is what Ukraine plans to put its most efforts into immediately – expecting that any agreement with Russia will at least result in the current situation being frozen for some time. However, disturbing messages coming from the East and South of Ukraine show yet again how fragile this truce may turn out to be.”