Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (L) welcomes Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi prior to their meeting, on March 4, 2015 in Kiev, as part of Renzi's one-day visit to Ukraine. AFP PHOTO/ SERGEI SUPINSKY
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Both sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine have withdrawn most of their heavy weapons from the front line, bolstering a month-old truce, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.Poroshenko confirmed that the cease-fire deal hammered out by France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in the Belarussian capital Minsk on February 12 was largely holding, despite sporadic deadly clashes.Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of providing separatists with troops, training and weaponry.British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond Tuesday accused President Vladimir Putin of undermining other former Soviet republics, besides Ukraine.On Monday, the Ukrainian army accused the separatists of using mortars and a tank to fire on government positions near the eastern port of Mariupol.While denying meddling in eastern Ukraine Putin has acknowledged ordering the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine a year ago, sparking the worst crisis in East-West relations since the Cold War.
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