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Putin hopes ceasefire will be finalised by September 5

September 3, 2014 6:01 pm

Russian president Vladimir Putin says he hopes a peace agreement between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels will be reached by tomorrow, as Barack Obama vows to defend the former Soviet country from the aggression of its more powerful neighbour.

A spokesman for Putin had earlier denied claims, from Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko’s office, that a ceasefire had been reached in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region because “Russia is not a party to Ukraine conflict”.

But Mr Putin later said he had spoken with Mr Poroshenko and that a truce in the conflict could be reached by September 5.

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Pro-Russian separatists are battling Kiev’s forces in the mainly Russian-speaking Donbass region, where the city of Donetsk has declared independence from Ukraine.

Speaking overnight in Estonia, Obama said NATO will not accept Russia’s “illegal annexation” of Crimea or any part of Ukraine.

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