Putin seeks to revoke right to use troops in Ukraine – USA TODAY

As Ukraine attempts to implement a cease-fire in its restive eastern regions, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday asked his lawmakers to cancel an authorization for the use of Russian armed forces in Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies.

The latest development comes as pro-Russia insurgents in east Ukraine on Monday said they would abide by the temporary cease-fire declared last week by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The cease-fire appeared to be largely holding.

Insurgents have declared the Donetsk and Lugansk republics in eastern Ukraine as independent.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, confirmed the president had requested the Federal Council rescind its March 1 resolution approving the use of military intervention in Ukraine, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Andrey Klimov, deputy head of the Federation Council’s International Committee, confirmed the upper house will back Putin’s request and repeal the resolution on Wednesday, RT.com reports.

Poroshenko called Putin’s proposal a “first practical step towards settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine,” according to a statement from the Ukrainian leader’s press office.

In addition to the cease-fire, Poroshenko’s peace plan offered amnesty and safe passage for separatists who have not committed “grave crimes” and promised “steps for decentralization of power” in the region, including amending the Ukraine constitution.

It also suggested the creation of a 6-mile “buffer zone” on the Russian-Ukrainian border that would be “jointly patrolled.”

Ukraine and the United States have accused Russia of supporting the insurgency, including permitting tanks to cross the border and end up in the rebels’ arsenal. Russia counters it is not supporting the insurgents and Russians who have joined the fighting are doing so as private citizens.

Russian markets, which have been rattled by the crisis in Ukraine and sanctions by the USA and the European Union against Russian officials and businessmen, rose 1.6% Tuesday after the news, reaching a four-month high, the Associated Press reported.

Several European foreign ministers Monday threatened further sanctions if Russia does not cooperate with Poroshenko’s plan and continues to allow arms and militants to cross its border into eastern Ukraine.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said Monday in Luxembourg the European Union could issue further sanctions against Russia at a summit of its 28 leaders Friday.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt accused Russia of “conducting a propaganda war with full speed ahead and no signs of their closing the border,” and said Russia would face more sanctions unless it changes course.

The EU has so far has ordered visa bans and asset freezes for a list of officials but has refrained from imposing broader economic sanctions. EU leaders will review the situation Friday.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

Putin seeks to revoke right to use troops in Ukraine – USA TODAY

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