Poroshenko Plans New Talks with Russia, Germany, France to Bring Peace To Eastern UkraineUkraine | December 29, 2014, Monday // 20:41| views
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko speaks at his news conference in Kiev during which signed into law a bill ending the country`s non-aligned status, 29 December 2014. Photo EPA/BGNES
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said on Monday he is planning to meet with leaders of Russia, Germany and France next month to discuss a peace settlement for his country's eastern regions.
The meeting is planned to be held in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on 15 January.
Poroshenko said at a news conference he will urge Russia to withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine, as he still believes there could be no military solution to the conflict.
Moscow has repeatedly denied Ukrainian and Western accusations it was sending Russian troops to help pro-Russian rebels fight Kiev government forces. The fighting in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 4,700 lives since April.
A ceasefire agreed between the Ukrainian government and the rebels in September has often been violated.
"The most important thing is to turn a fragile ceasefire into a stable peace and return previously occupied territories under the control of Ukrainian authorities," Poroshenko said.
On Monday, Poroshenko signed into law the bill that allows Ukraine to abandon its non-aligned status and seek membership of NATO. The parliament in Kiev overwhelmingly ratified the bill last week.
He said Ukraine’s armed forces need to be reformed to meet NATO standards before seeking membership of the Western military alliance.
“When we are able to conform to these criteria, the people of Ukraine will make up their mind about the membership,” he said, adding that a referendum could possibly take place within the next five to six years.
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