Ukraine to build fortifications along frontline in east

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced on Thursday that he had approved a detailed plan for building fortifications along the line dividing government- and militia-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine.

Construction firms were selected for the project and officials were chosen in regional administrations to be responsible for construction work and its financing along specific sections of the line," the president's office said in a statement. Poroshenko made the announcement at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council.

Ukraine is reinforcing its positions and building up defenses while complying with the Minsk agreements to establish peace in the country's east, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said, according to his press office.

"We are conducting two parallel processes. Process one: we are consistently implementing the requirements of the Minsk Memorandum. Process two: we are working actively and decisively to build up the fighting potential of our armed forces," Poroshenko said during told the National Security and Defense Council on Thursday.

The president informed the Council about the outcomes of talks over assistance in restoring Ukraine's fighting capabilities, in particular, the U.S. decision to help Ukraine with non-lethal weapons. "We will be armed with tactical drones. Radar and counter-battery stations are being supplied additionally," the president said.

"Work has resumed to train and prepare the Ukrainian troops, including with participation of our partners from several NATO countries," Poroshenko said.

While Ukraine is honoring the Minsk agreements, its troops are allowed to defend themselves and respond to aggression, if need be, he said. "Ukraine is strictly honoring all the obligations it assumed - we ceased fire … The ceasefire does not mean we can not fire back. Ukrainian troops have the relevant orders, rights and authority, they do have something to defend themselves with," Poroshenko said.

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