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Ukrainian President Ends Cease-Fire

Peace is, was and will be my goal, he added. Only the instruments of achieving it are changing.

Published: July 2, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • A woman weeps outside of her burning home in Slovyansk after it was shelled by government forces on Monday.
    Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was abandoning a unilateral cease-fire in the conflict with pro-Russian separatists and sending military forces back on the offensive after talks with Russia and European leaders failed to start a broader peace process.

Poroshenkos decision, announced shortly after the much-violated 10-day cease-fire expired, raises the prospect of renewed escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 400 people.

A grave Poroshenko made a televised address early Tuesday vowing that we will attack, and we will free our country. The cease-fire expired at 10 p.m. Monday.

The idea behind the truce announced June 20 was to give pro-Russian rebels a chance to disarm and to start a broader peace process including an amnesty and new elections.

But rebels did not disarm, and the cease-fire was continually violated, with both sides blaming each other. The unique chance to put the peace plan into practice was not realized, Poroshenko said. This happened because of the criminal actions of the fighters. He said the militants violated the truce more than a hundred times.

Poroshenko said the government was ready to go back to the cease-fire at any moment, when we see that all sides are keeping to the basic points of the peace plan.

Peace is, was and will be my goal, he added. Only the instruments of achieving it are changing...The defense of Ukraines territorial integrity, of the security and lives of peaceful citizens, demands not just defensive but offensive action against the terrorist militants.

Poroshenko said he made the decision after a meeting of the national security council. After discussion of the situation, I, as commander in chief, took the decision not to continue the unilateral cease-fire.

Ending the cease-fire, this is our answer to terrorists, armed insurgents and looters, to all who mock the peaceful population, who are paralyzing the economy of the region...who are depriving people of a normal, peaceful life, Poroshenko said in his speech.

Poroshenkos decision followed four-way talks in search of a solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Monday as the deadline approached. He issued a statement after the talks ended, saying the key conditions needed to continue the cease-fire had not been met.

While Putin has expressed support for the cease-fire, the West has accused Russia of sending weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine. Russia says any Russians there have gone as private citizens.

Poroshenko said he meant for a cease-fire to be followed by an amnesty for fighters who had not considered serious crimes, and political concessions such as early local and regional elections, protections for speakers of Russian and, in the longer term, changes to the constitution to decentralize power to the regions.

The end of the cease-fire raises the question of what action the Ukrainian military can take. It has so far been unable to dislodge rebels occupying the city of Slovyansk or to retake control of three key border crossings with Russia. At one point, the rebels shot down a government military transport, killing 49 service members.





 

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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