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Putin says seven days of truce in Ukraine enough if substantive talks start

June 25, 2014, 8:37 UTC+3 VIENNA

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the mere fact that the negotiations between the Kiev authorities and representatives of the south-east have started is a positive step

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ENNA, June 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin says that seven days of ceasefire in Ukraine will be enough only if substantive talks take place and the population in the country's south-east receives guarantees of their rights.

"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 of 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 yield no result,” 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 underscored this condition is “a key element of today’s talks”, adding that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko was informed about this position.

“I was pleased and encouraged to note that (on Monday) first direct contacts took place as the Kiev authorities and representatives of Ukraine’s south-east from Donetsk and Luhansk sat down at the negotiating table for the first time,” Putin said.

“No major agreements were reached there, but the fact that the dialogue has started is an extremely important moment,” he said. “It is positive.”

“Austria has its own very balanced and objective evaluation of the situation in Ukraine as well as clearly-cut proposals and objective expectations regarding the development of the conflict,” Putin said.

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