Russia has put its troops on full combat alert a day after Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko declared a ceasefire. CCTV’s Jessica Golloher reports.
Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu says the alert includes the central Volga region and the Ural mountains, and that the week-long drill will involve 65 thousand troops. The announcement incidentally follows Poroshenko’s declaration of a week-long ceasefire, which is intended to give pro-Russian separatists the chance to lay down their weapons or leave Ukraine.
Poroshenko maintains that there is a ceasefire in effect, but also that Kiev has the right to protect itself. Moscow has condemned the ceasefire, calling it an ultimatum.
The U.S. supports Poroshenko’s plan, saying Kiev will continue to do what is necessary to secure its borders while giving rebels the opportunity to abide.
In a statement, the Kremlin said it would carefully review the proposal by Poroshenko, but criticized it because it did not include an offer of negotiations with the rebels.
Russia also called the shelling of one of its checkpoints on the Ukraine border an aggressive act, casting major doubt on the peace plan. Kiev, however, says it was responding to pro-Russian separatists.
As the fighting and struggle to maintain peace and order continues, the violence in Ukraine has so far forced at least 30 thousand residents from their homes.