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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says he will offer ceasefire

June 16, 2014, 17:57 UTC+3 KIEV

He noted that the country has "no need to involve in a protracted negotiation process"

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© ITAR-tASS/Maxim Nikitin

KIEV, June 16./ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Monday that he would offer a plan to introduce a ceasefire in the country.

“I hope it will happen this week,” Poroshenko said at a meeting of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council.

Poroshenko noted that the country has "no need to involve in a protracted negotiation process."

"The lion's share of the peace plan outlined in my inauguration's speech," Poroshenko said.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said that Poroshenko would submit a decentralisation bill to the parliament this week. “I have talked with the president. He is planning to initiate changes to the Constitution this week with regard to decentralisation of power,” he said.

On the day of his inauguration, Poroshenko outlined the plan for the peaceful settlement in the country’s south-east. The major points included the decentralization of power, guarantees for the Russian language status in Ukraine’s east and respect toward the specifics of different regions. Poroshenko said it was important to “economically restructure Donbass” and vowed to support early local elections in the region.

On June 10, Poroshenko ordered to organize a “humanitarian corridor” for civilians to leave the combat areas in Donetsk and Luhansk. Local administrations were tasked with the accommodation of refugees.

Billionaire businessman and politician Poroshenko won the May 25 early presidential election in Ukraine set by the provisional Kiev authorities propelled to power amid riots when a coup occurred in the country in February. He was sworn in on June 7.

Poroshenko, dubbed “the chocolate king” because his structures control Ukraine’s Roshen confectionery manufacturer, earlier told media he had funded anti-government protests that led to February's coup.

The Ukrainian president also pledged to restore security on the state border with Russia by “resolute actions”.

“I hope we manage to do that in full,” he said.

“Considerable resolute changes in the situation on the border section (with Russia) have been achieved” recently, Poroshenko said. “Control has been restored over more than 250 kilometers of the border, security checkpoints have been set up.”

He also pledged that one of the key elements of his policy will be reinforcement of the Ukrainian army’s combat effectiveness.


No humanitarian corridors opened in the combat zone

There is nothing even close to humanitarian corridors in the area where the Ukrainian army is conducting its operation in the south-east of the country, and all of Kiev’s statement to this effect are “a lie, cynicism and populism”, Denis Pushilin, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR), told ITAR-TASS.

“All we have seen from them is attacks not only on militiamen but also on ordinary civilians,” he said, adding that “there is a whole list of extraordinary events”. For example, gunmen from the radical Right Sector group and the National Guard have organised “forced mobilisation”. “In the village of Dmitrovka, they broke into houses and led men aged 18 to 50 in an unknown direction under the pretext of mobilisation”, Pushilin said.

In the meantime, the number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine is nearing 20,000, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

He said 19,000 persons had been identified as internally displaced persons in Ukraine.

Earlier in the day, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos referred to 17,500 displaced persons in Ukraine. The difference in estimates may be due to the rapidly changing situation in the country.

At the same time, the actual number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine may be 34,000. Amos quoted trustworthy sources as saying that the movement of people was registered in the eastern Donetsk and Luрansk regions, and 15,000 people had fled the city of Sloviansk alone. However these numbers provided by the local authorities have not yet been included in the UN official statistics.

The United Nations last published such data in late May when the number of internally displaced persons in Ukraine was 10,000.

Amos could not say how many people had crossed from Ukraine into neighbouring Russia.

Meanwhile, Russian regions are getting ready for a surge in the flow of refugees from the south-east of Ukraine. Over the past month, more than 122,000 refugees from Ukraine have entered the Rostov region alone, and 70,000 of them decided to stay in Russia.


Developments in Ukraine's south-east

Residents of Ukraine’s southeastern territories, mainly the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, staged massive protests against the authorities brought to power during February’s coup. The residents’ urge to defend their rights was apparently prompted by Crimea’s accession to Russia in mid-March.

Demonstrators in the Southeast, who have been demanding Ukraine’s federalization, seized some government buildings. Fierce fighting has been underway between the Ukrainian military and militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

A punitive operation, conducted by Kiev against federalization supporters in Ukraine's Southeast, has already claimed hundreds of lives, including civilian. The Donetsk and Luhansk regions held referendums on May 11, in which most voters supported independence from Ukraine. Their independence has not been officially recognized.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly dismissed Western claims that Moscow could in any way be involved in protests in Ukraine's Southeast.

Russia has been insistently urging Kiev to stop the punitive operation, which involves armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation, and engage in dialogue with the Southeast.

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