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Ukrainian PM Rejects Putin's Peace Plan

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience as he takes part in festivities to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Ulan Bator on September 3.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the audience as he takes part in festivities to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Khalkhin Gol in Ulan Bator on September 3.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has rejected Russian peace proposals for eastern Ukraine as an attempt to deceive the West about Moscow's real intentions.

In a statement on September 3, Yatsenyuk described the Russian peace plan as another attempt to "pull the wool over the eyes" of the international community on the eve of a NATO summit in Wales and an attempt to avert Western sanctions against Moscow.

"The best plan for ending Russia's war against Ukraine has only one single element -- for Russia to withdraw its troops, its mercenaries, and its terrorists from Ukrainian territory," he added.

Yatsenyuk also told a cabinet meeting that Ukraine was beefing up its frontier with Russia by launching "the Wall project," which entails the construction of "real border" infrastructure.

He added that Ukraine was seeking the status of a "special partner, partner No. 1" with NATO.

Pro-Russian separatists have been fighting against government troops in eastern Ukraine since April.

Kyiv and the West accuse Russia of sending troops and weapons to reinforce the rebels, which Moscow denies.

Earlier on September 3, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had "sketched out" a seven-point cease-fire plan during a flight to Mongolia after a telephone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko.

Putin told reporters his and Poroshenko's views on finding a political solution to the conflict are "very close," and expressed hopes Kyiv and the rebels will agree on a plan to end their conflict during talks in Minsk on September 5.

Putin said both sides should halt "active offensive operations" as part of a cease-fire agreement, and that Ukrainian government forces must stop the "use of military aviation against peaceful civilians" and withdraw from positions from which they can hit civilians with artillery.

His cease-fire plan also includes prisoner exchanges, humanitarian aid corridors, and international monitoring of the truce.

Putin made the comments after Poroshenko's office said Putin and Poroshenko had agreed "on a cease-fire regime" for the region, where the UN says more than 2,600 people have been killed in the conflict.

Putin's proposals came as U.S. President Barack Obama, on a visit to Estonia, spoke of Russian "aggression against Ukraine" and reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the security of Eastern European NATO allies.

Obama also said the alliance must send an "unmistakable message of support" to Ukraine.

NATO leaders, at a September 4-5 summit in Britain, are expected to back plans for a rapid-response force which could be deployed near Russia's borders.

EU governments are to make a decision on the final shape of the new sanctions against Russia by September 5 amid concerns about Moscow's actions in Ukraine.

On September 3, the office of President Francois Hollande announced that France is suspending the first delivery of a Mistral warship to Russia.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Interfax
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