- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2014

President Vladimir Putin says peace could come as early as Friday if Ukraine agrees to a deal that’s in the works and that’s “very close” to reaching consensus, he said.

Mr. Putin said on the heels of a telephone call with Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko that the two shared similar views on how to end the military conflict, and that they’re “very close” to closing the doors on a deal, the Telegraph reported.

The announcement comes a day after Mr. Poroshenko said the two sides had reached a “permanent ceasefire,” and then hours later backtracked on that claim.

NATO said the Russia’s sent troops with tanks and artillery into eastern Ukraine. The military mission halted Ukraine troops who were advancing on grounds held by pro-Russian insurgents, the Telegraph said. With large portions of eastern Ukraine in the hands of Russian rebel forces, Mr. Putin came forward and said he’s ready to strike a peace deal — one that leaves the rebels in control of key regions, the Telegraph reported.

Intelligence and military analysts say that Mr. Putin’s overall mission is to strike a peace deal that leaves pro-Russian separatists in charge of vast regions of eastern Ukraine — rebel forces who will then rely on the Kremlin for sustenance.

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