Updated on 06:44 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 5 (RIA Novosti) – The self-proclaimed people’s republics of Luhansk and Donetsk still intend to secede from Ukraine, the prime minister of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) said Friday.
“We will continue our course toward secession. A ceasefire is a forced measure. A lot of work remains to be done,” Igor Plotnitsky said.
He confirmed that the self-defense forces were ready to cease hostilities at 15:00 GMT to “stop bloodshed.”
Earlier, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko also confirmed the agreement and ordered to cease fire starting at the time stated in the protocol.
Kiev officials and representatives of the two self-proclaimed republics in southeastern Ukraine agreed to a ceasefire on Friday, as the Contact Group on Ukraine were meeting in the Belarusian capital Minsk.
Since mid-April the Ukrainian government has been conducting a military operation against independence supporters in eastern Ukraine who refused to acknowledge the new government that came to power after a coup in February. The fighting intensified after Donetsk and Luhansk regions proclaimed independence in May.
Ukraine’s southeastern regions are currently in a state of humanitarian catastrophe, with citizens struggling without water and electricity.
According to UN estimates, fighting has killed over 2,500 people and injured over 6,000.