24 June 2014
Last updated at 11:53
The rebels say they will not disarm until government troops have left eastern Ukraine
Russia’s president has asked parliament to revoke the right of military intervention in Ukraine, where rebels have been fighting government troops.
Vladimir Putin’s move was aimed at “normalising the situation” in the conflict-torn eastern regions of Ukraine, his press-secretary said.
The upper house of parliament authorised Mr Putin to use force in Ukraine on 1 March.
Moscow has since annexed Ukraine’s southern Crimea peninsula.
This was achieved with the help of troops without insignia. Despite initial denials, Mr Putin later admitted that those were Russian armed forces.
However, Moscow denies accusations by Kiev that Russian troops are helping and arm the separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
On Tuesday, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Mr Putin had sent a letter to the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, asking to revoke the right of military intervention in Ukraine.
Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma (second left), OSCE Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini (centre) and Russian Ambassador to Ukraine Mikhail Zurabov joined the talks with the Donetsk and Luhansk separatist leaders
Mr Peskov said the move was linked with the beginning of trilateral talks – also involving Russia and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe – on the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Pro-Russian separatists on Monday said they would observe a ceasefire until Friday morning, responding to the unilateral truce declared by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
The BBC’s Daniel Sanford in Moscow says that Mr Putin’s request to parliament could be voted in as soon as Wednesday, according to senior Russian officials.
This could be a very important choreographed plan to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine, our correspondent says.
It looks as if everybody is stepping back from the brink of an abyss or at least trying to, he adds.
Hundreds of people have been killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine.