Peace talks begin in east Ukraine after ceasefire

A new female volunteer recruit of the Ukrainian army 'Donbass' battalion takes a military oath during a ceremony of the National Guard unit near the Novi Petrivtsi village not far from Kiev June 23, 2014. (AFP PHOTO/SERGEI SUPINSKY)

DONETSK, Ukraine: The Interfax news agency says that talks to end the uprising in eastern Ukraine have begun, bringing together a former Ukrainian president, the Russian ambassador and pro-Russian rebel leaders along with European officials.

The talks started Monday in Donetsk, the biggest city in the rebellious east. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko laid out his peace plan Friday, declaring a unilateral cease-fire in fighting to uproot the mutiny that has engulfed the nation's industrial east for the past two months.

Russian welcomed the peace plan, but urged the Ukrainian government to engage in talks with the insurgents, who have declared their regions independent, seized official buildings and fought government troops.

Poroshenko has asked Ukraine's former President Leonid Kuchma, his office said. Kuchma, who served as president in 1994-2005, comes from the east.





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