Ukraine agrees with UN call for pause in fighting

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Ukraine agrees with UN call for pause in fighting

Kiev agrees with the UN secretary-general s call for a pause in fighting ahead of the Orthodox Easter holiday.

The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine said on Wednesday that Kiev is in favor of a four-day Easter ceasefire proposed by the UN secretary general and remains committed to resolving the conflict with Russia through diplomacy.

Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who had been in office a day earlier, contradicted this position by telling French media that the solution could only be found on the battlefield.

The ministry said on Wednesday that a humanitarian pause is necessary for the safe evacuation of thousands of civilians who are wishing to leave the dangerous zones of ongoing and possible hostilities, mainly from the long-suffering Mariupol.

The ministry said that the Ukraine always has been committed to solving the conflict by peaceful and diplomatic means and that we have confirmed our agreement with the proposal for a humanitarian ceasefire, forwarded by the deputy secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief. On Tuesday evening, Kuleba said something completely different.

The question of ending the war with Russia will be resolved on the battlefield, not at the negotiating table, Kuleba told French news channel France 24. This is not a question we intend to resolve through diplomacy. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for Russia to accept a four-day Easter ceasefire in Ukraine on Thursday. Most Russians and Ukrainians belong to the Eastern Orthodox Church, which celebrates Easter on April 24th this year.

I urge all parties, and champions of peace around the world to join my Easter appeal, inspired by Holy Week, to join my Easter appeal, Guterres said in New York. The Russian Foreign Ministry hasn't responded to this initiative. Moscow spokesman for the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, told the Security Council on Tuesday that Ukraine has repeatedly misused or refused to use humanitarian corridors Russia has offered for the evacuation of civilians, and he saw no point in playing games with Kiev on the issue.

Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said within an hour Guterres called for a humanitarian truce, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for the West to send more heavy weapons to Ukraine to ensure Russia does not win the war. Medvedev said that there was a very consistent position of the international community.

Russia attacked its neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was totally unprovoked and has denied that it was planning to take the two republics by force.