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Biden Says U.S. Welcomes Ukrainian Demilitarized Zone Proposal

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has welcomed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's proposal to create a 30-kilometer demilitarized zone along the line of contact in eastern Ukraine, the White House said.

The zone would be free of tanks, artillery, and mortar systems and would be under the control of the OSCE, "which should secure a real cease-fire," Poroshenko's office said.

Biden and Poroshenko, who spoke by telephone on July 24, agreed that Russia and Russian-backed separatists had still failed to implement the Minsk agreement calling for a cease-fire and the removal of heavy weapons from the line of contact, the White House said.

The leaders also talked about Ukraine's efforts to combat corruption, Ukrainian-U.S. military and technological cooperation, and the urgency of seeking justice in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine a year ago.

The two leaders discussed the prospects for setting up an international tribunal at the UN to prosecute those responsible for downing the jetliner.

The UN Security Council is expected to vote on the proposal on July 29.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and Interfax