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Ukraine president offers ceasefire - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A picture made available on June 16, 2014 shows relatives greeting soldiers of the Ukrainian Guard, who returned home from Lviv, eastern Ukraine, on  June 15, 2014. (EPA/Vitaly Hrabar)

A picture made available on June 16, 2014 shows relatives greeting soldiers of the Ukrainian Guard, who returned home from Lviv, eastern Ukraine, on June 15, 2014. (EPA/Vitaly Hrabar)

Kiev, AP—Russian news agencies say Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed a unilateral ceasefire by his troops to allow pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country a chance to lay down weapons or leave the country.

The agencies quoted Poroshenko as saying Wednesday that this would be the first step in the peace plan he has proposed to de-escalate the conflict.

He was quoted as saying: “The plan will begin with my order for a unilateral ceasefire.” He added that “shortly afterward the plan will receive support from the other participants.”

The proposal, reportedly disclosed during a visit to an army academy in Kiev, comes after a telephone call between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in which a ceasefire was discussed. Poroshenko’s spokesman was not immediately available to confirm the offer.

Separatists have seized government buildings, held disputed referendums, and declared independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions along Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia. Ukrainian troops have struggled to suppress the insurgents, who on Saturday shot down a military transport plane, killing all 49 on board. Authorities say more than 300 people have died in fighting.

Poroshenko was elected after a protest movement drove his predecessor, Viktor Yanukovych, from office in February.

In his inaugural address June 7, Poroshenko said he was willing to negotiate with people in the region, but not with “terrorists” with “blood on their hands.” He proposed an amnesty for separatists, early regional elections and new efforts to create jobs in the area.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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