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Poroshenko Says No Peace In Donbas Without Control Over Border

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (left) meets with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland (right) in Kyiv on October 6.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said in a meeting with a top U.S. official on October 6 that there cannot be peace in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region until government control is reestablished over the border with Russia.

Poroshenko, during a meeting with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, stressed the need for Ukrainian border guards to be allowed to return to all areas along the Russian border.

"Without restoring Ukrainian control over the border, it is impossible to achieve a peaceful settlement," Poroshenko told Nuland.

Poroshenko also warned that areas in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists faced a humanitarian disaster this winter if nothing can be done to change the current situation.

Gas, electricity, and food supplies must be resumed, Poroshenko said.

Meanwhile, N ATO's new Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance is very concerned about numerous breaches of a month-old cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists.

Stoltenberg, speaking in Warsaw on his first foreign trip, said it is important for Russia to use its influence to make sure the separatists adhere to the cease-fire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's Security Council on October 6 also called the cease-fire in Ukraine very fragile, particularly in the area of the Donetsk airport.

Stoltenberg said NATO's "task No. 1" is reinforcing the security of its members and "supporting an independent, democratic, and Western-oriented Ukraine."

And he vowed to maintain "a continuous presence and activity in the eastern part of our alliance," potentially calling into question its 1997 promise to Russia that it would not permanently station significant combat forces in the east.

Meanwhile, artillery fire resumed in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk late on October 6, raising more doubts about the cease-fire.

Donetsk, eastern Ukraine's largest city, has been under the separatists' control, with the exception of the Donetsk International Airport, which remains in the hands of the Ukrainian Army.

The separatists have been mounting repeated attacks against the airport, but their attempts have been so far unsuccessful.

Pro-Russian authorities in Donetsk said that two civilians were killed and five injured in shelling earlier in the day on October 6.

Ukraine's National Security Council spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, said on October 6 that one soldier was killed and 13 were injured in fighting in the previous 24 hours.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, UNIAN, and Interfax
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