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Ukrainian President Offers Limited Autonomy For Rebellious Region

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko is offering greater autonomy to parts of the country's rebellious east in a bid to quell a months-long conflict with pro-Russia separatists, but he reiterated that there would be no concessions on sovereignty.

Amid a shaky cease-fire with rebels and what Kiev has said is an incursion of Russian troops, Poroshenko said he would introduce a bill as early as next week offering special status to "some areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are currently controlled by separatists," Reuters says.

During a televised Cabinet meeting, the Ukrainian president said the temporary truce "envisages the restoration and preservation of Ukrainian sovereignty over the entire territory of Donbas, including the part that is temporarily under control of the rebels.

"Ukraine has made no concessions with regards to its territorial integrity," he added.

The BBC reports: "One rebel leader in Donetsk dismissed his comments and said they intended to break away and become independent."

Poroshenko said that since the cease-fire went into effect on Friday, 70 percent of the Russian troops in eastern Ukraine had been withdrawn, according to The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that much of $70 million in aid pledged by the U.S. to Kiev, including rations, radios, first-aid kits, night-vision goggles and body armor "is still in the pipeline" and has yet to reach the front lines of the conflict.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.