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Europe

Poroshenko positive over 'real' ceasefire in Ukraine

Three days after a new ceasefire was imposed in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian rebels, President Petro Poroshenko has said that a "real" truce was in place. He has warned, however, that the situation remains "fragile."

President Petro Poroshenko said on Friday that a "real" ceasefire was now in place in eastern Ukraine after the first 24 hours in seven months without a military casualty.

"I have positive news. Today is the first 24 hours for seven months ... when we have a real ceasefire in Ukraine," he said during a trip to Australia.

Although he admitted the standoff was fragile, Poroshenko said if the ceasefire held it would be "a great step for peace and stability in Ukraine."

"Everything is so fragile. But I pray that we should continue this process," he added.

Poroshenko went on to say that the conflict in his homeland was not just about Ukraine's independence and territorial integrity.

"This is a war for freedom, global freedom. This is a war for democracy, global democracy and this is the war for security, global security," he said.

Russian activity

The current ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels was implemented on Tuesday in the hope of ending an eight-month conflict which, according to the United Nations, has claimed at least 4,300 lives and displaced close to one million people.

The process remains under close scrutiny in Europe, where concerns over Russia's support for the rebels has plunged East-West relations to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

On Thursday, Poland's Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak also raised concerns over "unprecedented Russian activity" over the Baltic Sea. NATO has deployed more aircraft, ships and personnel in an attempt to reassure concerned eastern European countries which have been on edge since Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March.

ksb/cmk (AFP, AP)

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