Ukraine Trumpets Ceasefire, Walks It Back, Rebels Kill It

Dizzying day in Ukraine-Russia diplomacy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 3, 2014 4:33 AM CDT
Updated Sep 3, 2014 7:33 AM CDT
Ukraine: We Have Cease-Fire Deal With Russia
A wooden cross marks the grave of a Ukrainian government soldier seen between destroyed military vehicles in the village of Osykove, eastern Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

Ukraine today announced a ceasefire deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin for eastern Ukraine. Then it quickly walked that statement back, as Russia denied it was even a player in hostilities and pro-Russia rebels outright rejected the move, saying no ceasefire was possible without Ukraine withdrawing its forces. The back-and-forth came as President Obama arrived in Estonia in a show of solidarity with NATO allies who fear they could be the next target of Russia's aggression. NATO is holding a summit in Wales tomorrow, with plans to approve a rapid-response team to counter the Russian threat.

In a brief statement, Poroshenko's office said today that he and Putin were in agreement on a ceasefire: a "mutual understanding was reached regarding the steps that will contribute to the establishment of peace." Poroshenko's office first said there was an "agreement on a permanent ceasefire," but later revised its statement to say an "agreement on a ceasefire regime." The changes—which appeared in Ukrainian, Russian, and English versions—seemed to indicate the two leaders agreed on the conditions necessary for a ceasefire, not that one would imminently be implemented. (Read more Ukraine stories.)

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