Ukraine Leader Hails Cease-Fire as Way to Bring Back Territories

A lull in fighting and the withdrawal of weapons from the front line between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists will pave the way for the return of rebel-held territories to government control, President Petro Poroshenko said.

The war isn’t over, Poroshenko said on Wednesday, warning that a mix of military, economic, and information-based aggression against the country of 40 million people still persists. While insurgent attacks in eastern Ukraine ebb, the country’s army will remain in the east for a long time. At the same time, fighting “information spam” has become ever more important, and Ukraine and its European partners have agreed to create an all-European Russian-speaking TV channel to counter Russian propaganda, he said.

“It’s not peace yet, but it is a real cease-fire,” Poroshenko told listeners at the Military Institute of Kiev National Shevchenko University, according to his official Twitter account.

The Ukrainian government and the rebels occupying the Luhansk region began the withdrawal of tanks and light weapons this week. The complete pullback there and in the neighboring Donetsk region should take 41 days, Poroshenko said. Pro-Russian separatists have also agreed to postpone local elections, partially removing a stumbling block to calming the conflict, which has killed more than 8,000 people since last year.

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