Ukrainian president blames Russia, separatists for rejecting ceasefire efforts

Amid growing calls for a fresh ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the country’s president told U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden on Thursday that both Russia and the separatists were rejecting his efforts in this regard.

In a phone conversation with Biden, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he had suggested a number of venues, including in Ukraine and Russia, for negotiating a ceasefire with the separatists still fighting the government forces despite heavy losses in recent days.

“All of these offers were refused either by Russia or the separatists,” the White House quoted Poroshenko as telling Biden.

Poroshenko told German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the phone earlier in the day that Kiev was ready for a bilateral ceasefire.

Biden welcomed Ukraine’s “continued efforts to negotiate a ceasefire as well as a roadmap” for implementing Poroshenko’s peace plan in an effort to put Ukraine on a “long-term path to stability,” the White House said.

It said the pair agreed on the need to quickly put in place an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe border monitoring mission in Ukraine that could be expanded to monitor a future truce.

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