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Associated Press
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking to the media after his talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

Ukraine president says cease-fire deal agreed

– The office of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have reached agreement on a cease-fire in eastern Ukraine.

The brief statement on Wednesday gave no details and there was no immediate reaction from the Russia-backed separatists whom Ukrainian forces have been fighting since April.

Russian markets jumped on the news. The MICEX benchmark was 3 percent higher while the ruble rose 1.2 percent against the U.S. dollar.

Putin’s spokesman said earlier that the Russian president and Poroshenko had found in a recent discussion that they “largely share views” on ways out of the crisis.

Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of sending its troops and weapons to support pro-Russian insurgents who have been fighting government troops in eastern Ukraine since mid-April. Moscow has vehemently denied this charge.

Over the weekend, the European Union leaders agreed to prepare a new round of sanctions that could be enacted in a week, after NATO accused Russia of sending tanks and troops into southeastern Ukraine. A NATO summit in Wales on Thursday is also expected to approve measures designed to counter Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine.

U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Estonia Wednesday morning in a show of solidarity with NATO allies who fear they could be the next target of Russia’s aggression.

Fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed nearly 2,600 people and forced over 340,000 to flee their homes, according to the U.N.

–––

Nataliya Vasilyeva contributed from Moscow.

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