news Monday, March 09, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | February 8, 2015 | 7:30 am IST

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Saturday that his government was ready for a ceasefire with the separatist rebels, but needed support including "defensive weapons" from abroad.

According to a Xinhua report, Poroshenko said during the 51st Munich Security Conference that his government stood ready for a "comprehensive and immediate ceasefire" which was urgently needed in Ukraine.

Ukraine, however, should have the capacity to defend itself against the rebels in the eastern part of the country, with support from abroad, he said.

"Over the course of the conflict, we have proven to be responsible that we will not use the defensive equipments (for) attack," he said.

Poroshenko's call came as the US government was considering the option of offering Ukraine lethal weapons as the conflict worsened in eastern Ukraine.

The plan, however, was opposed by the European Union (EU), which feared that the move would exacerbate the crisis and intensify tensions with Russia.

Earlier Saturday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that military means could not solve the crisis in Ukraine and that people needed to focus on other options.

"The progress that Ukraine needs can not be achieved by more weapons," she said, adding that there were already a lot of weapons on the ground.

Merkel and French President Francois Hollande visited Moscow on  Friday to discuss ways to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

The German Chancellor noted at the Munich Security Conference that it was uncertain whether the Friday talks would succeed, but stressed that it was definitely worth an attempt.

According to Russian government spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, the tripartite talks between the Merkel, Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin was "constructive and substantial", and a telephonic conversation between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France was scheduled Sunday.

Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden said at the Munich conference Saturday that Washington would provide further support to Ukraine and called for Russian efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis

IANS

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