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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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