Ukraine Insists Any Pact With Putin Must Adhere to Terms Set in September Accord

KIEV, Ukraine — As the leaders of Germany and France prepared to travel to Moscow on Friday to press President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on a deal to end the war in eastern Ukraine, officials in Kiev insisted that any agreement must hold to the cease-fire lines and other terms included in a failed truce negotiated in September.

The Ukrainian position underscored the formidable obstacles to an accord to end the fighting between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists, which has killed more than 5,000 people and displaced more than one million, in the worst violence on the European Continent since the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

Mr. Putin, in letters earlier this week to the French president, François Hollande, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, had put forward a new proposal that apparently included shifts in the cease-fire boundaries based on recent gains by pro-Russian separatist fighters, diplomats said. The proposal also included a new plan to grant political autonomy to the embattled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

The obstacles to a deal were further highlighted earlier on Thursday when the Kremlin’s top spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, repeated Russia’s longstanding denials that any of its military personnel were on the ground in eastern Ukraine. That prompted the Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, to respond mockingly at a news conference in Kiev, “If they need, I can give them my glasses.”

He added, “We are not fighting with rebels or guerrillas; we are fighting with the regular Russian military.”

Melissa Eddy contributed reporting from Berlin.

The New York Times