Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard in Seversk (Siversk), located near the town of Krasny Liman, Donetsk region, June 19, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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Ukraine's new Western-backed president on Friday declared a week-long unilateral ceasefire and unveiled a sweeping plan for curbing a pro-Russian insurgency that killed 13 more soldiers in fierce clashes in the eastern rustbelt.The military operation's official spokesman said that Ukrainian forces would formally halt fire at 10:00 pm (1900 GMT).Poroshenko's ambitious push for peace followed two calls he had placed to Putin within 72 hours in the belief that no truce would work without the Russian strongman's support.It establishes a 10-kilometre (six mile) border buffer zone to stem the flow of gunmen and military equipment that both Kiev and Washington claim have been flooding in from Russia in recent weeks.The plan was the product of 10 days of European-mediated talks in Kiev between a Poroshenko envoy and Russia's ambassador to Ukraine.Putin had earlier bowed to Western pressure and refused to recognise the independence proclaimed by the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions in the wake of disputed May 11 sovereignty referendums.But he has lobbied for Kiev to turn Ukraine into a federation that provides regional leaders with the right to draft laws and established independent trade relations with nations such as Russia.
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