Kremlin quashes "permanent" ceasefire claim as blasts heard in Ukraine

Catherine Neilan
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Firefighting in Donetks: Russia, Ukraine and the separatists have quashed claims of permanent ceasefire
In this morning's newsletter we noted our scepticism at the use of the word “permanent” when it came to the ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine. Sadly, within two hours of the announcement from Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, it turns out that phrase has indeed met with some stumbling blocks.
Although Poroshenko's Tweet has not been taken down, his office has rowed back on his original claim, replacing his statement with something a bit more... nuanced:
The parties reached mutual understanding on the steps that will facilitate the establishment of peace.
Of the phone call leading to Poroshenko's confident announcement, Russian President Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov added:
Putin and Poroshenko really discussed the steps that would contribute to a ceasefire between the militia and the Ukrainian forces. Russia cannot physically agree to a ceasefire because it is not a party to the conflict.
According to the Telegraph, the Donetsk People's Republic is also unclear on the ceasefire statement, for similar reasons to Putin.
Deputy prime minister of the self-declared government, Vladimir Antyufeyev, is reported as saying:
I don't really understand what Mr Putin's role here is, because any agreement on a ceasefire should be between Donetsk and Kiev, not Moscow.
As to the ceasefire itself, well it seems that was over almost as soon as it was announced – in the last hour, a Reuters report has been published claiming “loud artillery explosions” were heard outside Donetsk, which is home to about one million people.
Still, at least there have been talks, which suggest a peace process of sorts. Putin is now apparently saying an agreement could be reached as early as Friday - which would be very convenient, as that is also the day European leaders meet again to discuss ramping up sanctions.
The FTSE 100, which hit a 14-year high after the initial ceasefire was announced, has dropped back down but is still up an encouraging 0.8 per cent for the day.

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