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US envoy Kerry sees hope for end to Ukraine conflict

Meeting President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev, Kerry said Ukraine had made a “good faith” effort to implement its side of the February 2015 truce agreement it signed with Russia in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

Fighting would only stop, however, if Russia halted support for the eastern separatist rebels and allowed the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to fully monitor and enforce a truce, Kerry said.

Washington’s top diplomat stressed that President Barack Obama had made this point “very frankly” to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a telephone call on Wednesday.

“And President Putin indicated that he does have a desire to try to have this process move forward,” Kerry said.

Ukraine changed the course of its post-Soviet history by ousting its Kremlin-backed leader in a pro-EU revolution in 2014 that led to a Western-leaning administration.

This was followed by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of one of Europe’s bloodiest conflicts since the 1990s Balkans wars.

Russia denies either backing the insurgents or plotting their 26-month revolt in a bid to keep the new leaders in Kiev off balance and dependent on Moscow’s good will. 
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