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KIEV, June 22, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says his peace plan for Eastern Ukraine, which came into force at 23:00 last Friday, has an alternative.
“The peaceful scenario is our main plan. But those who hope to use peaceful talks only to drag time and regroup their forces should know that we have a detailed plan B. I am not going to disclose it now because I believe that our peace plan is going to work,” Poroshenko said in his address, which his press service released late on Saturday.
On June 21, Petro Poroshenko presented a plan of peaceful settlement in southeast Ukraine, in which he pledged to provide security guarantees for the participants in the talks and relieve fighters who have not committed any grave crimes and who voluntarily lay down arms from criminal prosecution; create a 10-kilometer buffer zone on the Russian-Ukrainian border; release all hostages and create a guaranteed corridor to enable Russian and Ukrainian mercenaries to leave the territory of Ukraine. Poroshenko’s peace plan also says that all unlawfully-occupied buildings in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions should be vacated to make it possible for the local government bodies to resume their work. Other measures under Poroshenko’s peace plan include renovation of the system of central television and radio broadcasting in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions; steps to decentralize power; early local and parliamentary elections, creation of new jobs in the region and restoration of industrial facilities and social infrastructure.
Poroshenko’s decree on unilateral ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine took effect at 23:00 Moscow time on June 20. It will last from 22:00 (23:00 Moscow time) on June 20 until 10:00 (11:00 Moscow time) on June 27.
However, “the military will be given the right to open return fire if Ukrainian army units or peaceful civilians are attacked,” Poroshenko said in his decree.
Poroshenko announced unilateral ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine during a visit to Svyatogorsk, located 15 kilometers to the north of Slavyansk in the Donetsk region, on June 20. He ordered all Ukrainian army units fighting in the country’s southeast and the border guards to cease fire until June 27.
Poroshenko said that the ceasefire was designed to enable the Kiev authorities’ foes to lay down arms. He warned that those who would refuse to do that would be destroyed, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry wrote on its website.
The Ukrainian president warned that during the ceasefire the Ukrainian troopers would be given the right to return fire if Ukrainian army units or civilians were attacked.
Ukraine’s acting president, Alexander Turchinov, announced the start of an army operation in Eastern Ukraine on April 7, 2014.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that most clauses of President Poroshenko’s peace plan look more like an ultimatum to the militias in the rebellious Donetsk and Lugansk regions rather than an invitation to dialogue.
Also Poroshenko has promised to allow the local communities in Ukraine’s Donbas region to use the Russian language freely.
“Decentralization of power provides for expansion of the rights of regions in questions of historical memory, cultural traditions and a language policy. The local communities in the Donbas region will have the full right to use Russian freely alongside with the state language,” Poroshenko said.
He was planning to submit an amnesty bill to the Ukrainian parliament soon.
“In the days to come, Verkhovnaya Rada will be offered to pass a bill on non-prosecution of those members of illegal armed groups who have not killed peaceful civilians and Ukrainian soldiers and who agree to lay down arms quickly,” President Poroshenko said in his address.
Moreover Poroshenko says amendments to the country’s Constitution that will guarantee ‘broad decentralization of power’ could be passed already in September 2014.
“I am going to hand over part of my powers to territorial communities and local government bodies. It may take several weeks to adopt relevant constitutional amendments in the first reading. I expect them to be passed in the final reading already in September,” Poroshenko said in his address to the Ukrainian citizens that his presidential press service published late on Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, Poroshenko had a telephone conversation with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Decentralization of power is one of the key elements of the peace plan,” Poroshenko told Ban Ki-moon, adding he intended to amend Ukraine’s Constitution in the near future.
Poroshenko has also promised to allow the local communities in Ukraine’s Donbas region to use the Russian language freely.
“Decentralization of power provides for expansion of the rights of regions in questions of historical memory, cultural traditions and a language policy. The local communities in the Donbas region will have the full right to use Russian freely alongside with the state language,” the Ukrainian president said in his address.
Poroshenko said he was planning to submit an amnesty bill to the Ukrainian parliament soon.
“In the days to come, Verkhovnaya Rada will be offered to pass a bill on non-prosecution of those members of illegal armed groups who have not killed peaceful civilians and Ukrainian soldiers and who agree to lay down arms quickly,” he emphasized.