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KIEV, December 29. /TASS/. The military operation in eastern Ukraine will not end until January 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday.
“Peace is a long process. It is easy to launch war, but it is difficult to stop it,” he said.
The first step in this direction has been made. The ceasefire operates and “we should strengthen it,” Poroshenko said. “The second step — humanitarian — has started working,” he said.
The third direction is the economy. The enterprises working with the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics are unable to work with Ukraine. “We won’t allow them,” Poroshenko said.
There is no military solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, Poroshenko stressed. He added that he will impose martial law in Ukraine if the peace process is disrupted.
“At the latest two meetings of the National Security and Defense Council we discussed that possibility in detail. The risks are rather high. We shall be prepared to declare martial law at once, if necessary,” he said.
No soldier died since the “silence regime” was introduced in Ukraine on December 9, he noted. The Kiev authorities will do everything to prevent the situation in Donbas from growing into a frozen conflict, he added.
Poroshenko said the conflict in eastern Ukraine can only be settled on the basis of the Minsk agreements.
“The most important thing is to turn the current fragile truce in eastern regions into a sustainable, secured and lasting peace on the basis of my plan, on the basis of the Minsk agreements,” he told a news conference. “It can only be done on the basis of the Minsk Protocol.”
The president noted that the elements of the conflict settlement process were guarantees of lasting ceasefire regime and immediate exchange of prisoners of war. “These 150 people (captive Ukrainian law enforcers who were handed over to Kiev) are not all,” he said, adding that Ukraine’s Security Council would continue efforts to specify the lists of Ukrainian servicemen kept by the militias in the eastern regions.