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Putin: Seven days of truce in Ukraine enough if substantial talks start

June 24, 2014, 20:20 UTC+3 VIENNA
Vladimir Putin expressed support for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s statements on truce in Ukraine but called for deeds rather than words
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© EPA/ALEXEY NIKOLSKY /RIA NOVOSTI / KREMLIN POOL

VIENNA, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that seven days of ceasefire in Ukraine will be enough only if substantial talks take place and the population in the country's south-east receives guarantees of its rights.

Vladimir Putin expressed support for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s statements on truce in Ukraine but called for deeds rather than words.

"It is not enough just to declare truce," Putin said at a news conference after his talks with Austria's president on Tuesday adding that "seven days for truce are not enough".

"If we hear or keep hearing, here are seven days ahead and you must lay down arms over these days and simultaneously no single attempt will be made to negotiate in essence with Ukraine’s east, then all the efforts would go down the drain and no result would be gained,” Putin said.

On the contrary, “if we see that substantive talks are underway so that people in the east of Ukraine could at least understand how their lawful interests will be guaranteed, then success is highly likely,” the Russian president said.

Putin regretted that combat activities in Ukraine continue. "This is sad," he said.

Revocation of resolution entitling Russia to use armed forces in Ukraine would contribute to normalization of the situation there, although it does not mean Moscow would not pay attention to events in Ukraine, Putin noted.

He expressed hope that the Russian army will not be needed in Ukraine and the revocation will contribute to normalization of the situation in the country.

Russian has never set forth and cannot set forth any conditions for talks between official Kiev and Ukraine’s southeastern regions, since it is no party to the conflict, Putin said on Tuesday.

“We are setting forth no preliminary conditions in the talks between the Kiev authorities and Ukraine’s East, first of all, due to the fact that Russia is not a party to the conflict,” he said at a news conference after his talks with Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Touching on concrete steps the sides should make, Putin said it was the subject for substantive talks. “We think it is unavoidable — it is necessary to begin talks about future system in Ukraine and about ensuring legal rights and interests of people living in its southeastern regions,” he said.

“Ukraine saw an anti-state armed coup, part of the country supported it, another part - did not. People took up arms in central and western regions, so, people in the east said why cannot we do the same? And they took the lead, seizing weapons to defend their interests. Now they are being told to disarm and they say in reply - no, first let disarm those who were the first to take up arms,” Putin noted. “This is an endless round of the problem. This vicious circle should be broken. And it can be done but how? Only though substantive talks on how to ensure interests of all people living in the country.”

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