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Poroshenko says Ukraine ready to defend itself if peace plan fails

22 september 2014, 14:36
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.  ©REUTERS
President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. ©REUTERS

 President Petro Poroshenko said Sunday that Ukraine must be ready to defend itself should a peace deal with pro-Russian insurgents fail, AFP reports.

"We must be ready to protect our country if the peace plan does not work," Poroshenko said in a nationally televised interview.

"We must strengthen our defensive frontiers, strengthen our army," he said, adding that he had acquired new military equipment from the West during his trip to the United States and Canada last week.

He said 65 percent of Ukraine's military hardware had been destroyed during the five-month conflict.

Kiev signed a deal with the rebels and Moscow on Saturday to strengthen a fragile ceasefire deal agreed two weeks earlier.

Poroshenko said it was only through his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin that the warring sides had been able to reach an accord.

"Without these discussions there would be no (peace) process now," he said, adding that there has been a "de-escalation" of the crisis.

Although both sides have traded accusations of violations with several dozen people reported killed since the first truce on September 5, the situation appeared to be calm on Sunday.

However, a Ukrainian security spokesman said that Kiev would not pull its forces back from the frontline until all sides cease fire under the terms of the so-called Minsk Memorandum agreed on Saturday.

Poroshenko held talks at the White House on Thursday with US President Barack Obama but his appeal for a shipment of weapons to help fight Russian "aggression" was rebuffed.

Instead, a senior US official said Washington would offer Ukraine $46 million (36 million euros) in non-lethal aid.

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