Pence Looks to Reassure Ukraine, Baltics of US Support

Pence Looks to Reassure Ukraine, Baltics of US Support

Despite countless reports by global organizations, investigative groups and satellite imagery showing Russian Federation moving hardware into Ukraine, Moscow continues to make up new stories about how all this equipment managed to find its way to the Donbas. "How can Russian Federation rent its own region from itself?"

Artemenko "is not entitled to present any alternative peace plans on behalf of Ukraine to any foreign government, including the United States administration", Valeriy Chaly told the newspaper.

Analysts say the cease-fire is unlikely to hold, given that the underlying causes for the conflict remain unaddressed.

He rejected Ukraine's claim that the move violated the 2015 peace deal, noting that Putin's move does not officially recognize the rebel regions.

The conflict has killed more than 9,800 people.

Since the end of January, shelling on both sides of the front line near the government-held town of Avdiyivka has been heavier than at any time since last summer.

Ukrainian authorities have denounced Putin's decision and say the order violates the Minsk peace process, criticisms echoed by France, Germany and the European Union capital Brussels.

A Ukrainian soldier shows pieces of shrapnel in a crater left by an explosion in Avdiivka, Ukraine, Jan. 31, 2017.

The decision has also been strongly criticised by Ukraine's president.

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Andriy Artemenko had sent a proposal to associates of Trump that was created to end a three years of fighting in eastern Ukraine.

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Kremlin officials maintain they had no knowledge of the meeting and called the peace plan absurd.

Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier explained that the decree does not contravene global law, adding that this decision stemmed from humanitarian considerations. The meeting suggested that those in the region aligned with Moscow were hoping to use Trump's associates as a way of changing USA foreign policy. "We are not trading our territories. To do this, we urgently need defensive weapons", he said.

"Donbas" refers to the part of southeastern Ukraine that encompasses the country's Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

The new story explains that a group of Trump operatives, including top lawyer Michael Cohen and fired former campaign manager Paul Manafort, along with a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian named Andrii V. Artemenko and Mr. Sater are pushing President Trump on a "peace plan" for Russian Federation and Ukraine.

President Trump's personal lawyer and a former business associate met privately in New York City last month with a member of the Ukrainian parliament to discuss a peace plan for that country that could give Russian Federation long-term control over territory it seized in 2014 and lead to the lifting of sanctions against Moscow.

In an interview, Artemenko said he was not deterred and that he had the support of some U.S. Congress and Senate members. "The issue of Crimea and decisive struggle for the liberation of Crimea also remain among priorities".

It is not clear if the plan was ever even opened after being delivered to the White House, or if the plan's proponents have discussed the plan with Trump or anyone else in the administration.

The U.S. and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Russian Federation over its 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and its support for insurgents in eastern Ukraine.

Under the plan, Russian forces would be forced to withdraw from Eastern Ukraine and Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum vote whether Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for either a 50 year or 100 year term.

The Kremlin on Monday defended its decision to recognize passports issued by separatist authorities in eastern Ukraine, saying it came as a response to Ukraine's blockade of rebel regions.

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