After nearly a year of internal turmoil and several months of bloody conflict, Ukraine might be headed for more peaceful times, if President Petro Poroshenko’s hopeful prognosis bears out.

Poroshenko claimed, in a news conference Thursday in Kiev, that “the most dangerous part of the war” between government forces and pro-Russian separatists is over. Although outbreaks of violence continued near Ukraine’s eastern border, Poroshenko stuck to his script about how his newly outlined six-year peace plan was sure to work (via The Associated Press):

Poroshenko’s plan includes reforming all major government agencies in the country. The president said he hoped those reforms would make the country ready for membership in the European Union by 2020.

But Poroshenko spent much of the news conference fielding questions about a conflict in the east of the country, where fighting between government and rebel forces has killed at least 3,500 people since mid-April. His peace proposal, which was laid out soon after he became president in June, were the foundation for agreements this month aimed at ending the fighting.

The first step was a cease-fire called three weeks ago that in the beginning was repeatedly violated. In recent days, reports of violations have decreased notably, although on Thursday the city council of Donetsk, the largest rebel stronghold in the region, said that artillery fire and other explosions could be heard throughout the city during the day.

Poroshenko was also planning to meet soon with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but only if the cease-fire was honored.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson


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