Ukraine president pushes for fast cease-fire, defensive arms



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MUNICH (AP) — Ukraine's president is pushing for both a quick cease-fire in his country's troubled east and defensive weapons from the West, as mediators sought momentum Saturday for a deal to stem the fighting at Europe's edge.

Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin are to confer with the leaders of Germany and France by phone Sunday in an effort to overcome months of setbacks and suspicion and breathe new life into a much-violated September peace plan. But even those who had scheduled the call are cautious about its prospects.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who along with French President Francois Hollande traveled to Kiev on Thursday and Moscow on Friday — acknowledges disillusionment over the failure of previous agreements to stick and says "there are no theoretical guarantees" that a new one would either.

Vice President Joe Biden is backing the German-French diplomatic push to calm the crisis in Ukraine but says Russia will have to be judged by its actions on the ground, "not by the paper they sign."

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The Associated Press

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