KIEV (AFP) – President Petro Poroshenko has proclaimed an end to the “most dangerous” part of Ukraine’s pro-Russian uprising and the start of a post-war recovery that would lead to an EU membership bid in 2020.
But the upbeat message on Thursday was clouded by new deadly clashes and a defiant decision by guerrillas to hold independent elections on November 2 that Poroshenko said he hoped Russia would not recognise.
Fresh negotiations in a politically-charged energy price dispute will take place in Berlin on Friday between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission.
Russia suspended deliveries to Ukraine in June due to a price dispute, threatening supplies to some European consumers.
The row, along with the escalating costs of war and the shutdown of giant industries in the east, have only accelerated Ukraine’s economic implosion.
Pro-Western leader Poroshenko told the first press conference since his June inauguration that he would never allow a resurgent Kremlin and gunmen entrenched in Ukraine’s eastern rust belt to halt Kiev’s ambition to break out of Russia’s embrace.