Russia says it will increase military presence near western border

Italy presented United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres this week with a four-point peace plan to end the conflict in Ukraine.

“We are working with partners and allies, including Ukraine, on a peace plan,” an Italian foreign ministry spokesman said, declining to give further details.

The plan calls for local ceasefires to allow for civilian evacuations and creates the conditions for a general ceasefire leading “to a lasting peace”, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported earlier on the proposal, with points that mostly reflect comments made publicly by Prime Minister Mario Draghi and other Western European leaders.

The first stage of the peace plan, according to the newspaper, is a ceasefire and the demilitarization of the front lines.

The second point is that Ukraine would be a neutral country, with its security guaranteed by an as yet unidentified group of countries. The outlines of this part of the plan would be discussed at a peace conference.

The third point is a bilateral agreement between Russia and Ukraine to clarify the future of Crimea and Donbass. The agreement would cover cultural and linguistic rights and guarantee the free movement of people, goods and capital. The plan, according to La Repubblica, says Crimea and Donbass would have almost complete autonomy, including in defense matters, but would be part of Ukraine.

The fourth point would be a multilateral peace agreement between the European Union and Russia which would include a staggered withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and the end of Western sanctions against Moscow.

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