Poroshenko says Ukraine ceasefire plan to be signed Friday
KYIV - Agence France-Presse
Ukrainian soldiers take position at a check point near Mariupol where pro-Russian rebels have launched an offensive. AFP PhotoUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko said a ceasefire plan aimed at ending a near five-month conflict in the east of the country would be signed on Friday.
"Tomorrow in Minsk a document will be signed providing for the gradual introduction of the Ukrainian peace plan," he said on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Wales on Thursday.
"It is very important that the first element provides for a ceasefire," he said.
Representatives of Kiev, Moscow, the separatist rebels and the pan-European security group the OSCE are due to meet in the Belarussian capital on Friday.
"If the meeting takes place, I will issue instructions to the leadership of the general staff about a bilateral ceasefire," Poroshenko told Ukrainian television.
He also said that NATO will adopt a declaration backing stronger military support for Kiev, a move that is likely to infuriate Moscow.
"In its declaration, NATO will confirm resolute bilateral steps by its member states to support military and technological assistance for Ukraine," Poroshenko said. "This is exactly what we were waiting for."
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced on Wednesday a seven-point ceasefire plan for Ukraine, although he denies Moscow has any involvement in the conflict raging in the east.
But Moscow is vehemently opposed to closer ties between NATO and Kiev, which has said it is taking steps to begin the membership process for the transatlantic alliance.