As new flashpoint emerges, Russian FM backs withdrawing heavy we - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

As new flashpoint emerges, Russian FM backs withdrawing heavy weaponry from Ukraine front line


 Separatist forces in eastern Ukraine are sending large quantities of arms and manpower to an emerging flashpoint, undermining hopes for a new peace initiative taking shape.

   The deployment of Russian-backed separatists to a tense checkpoint area northwest of the rebel-held city of Luhansk (loo-HAHNSK') has prompted Ukraine's president to cut short an overseas trip. At an economic forum in Davos (DAH'-vohs), Switzerland, Petro Poroshenko (por-oh-SHEHN'-koh) strongly urged Russia to withdraw its forces from eastern Ukraine and seal the border to stop the flow of troops and weapons.

   Earlier in the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (SEHR'-gay LAHV'-rahf) proposed that both Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed rebels pull back their heavy weapons from a previously agreed-upon division line to help reduce hostilities. Lavrov's remarks received nominal approval from his Ukrainian counterpart.

   While Lavrov urged measures to contain the unfolding unrest, he said nothing about rebels surrendering territory they acquired in violation of September's peace deal.

   Ukraine says separatists have overstepped agreed-upon boundaries by 190 square miles.

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