President Petro Poroshenko, whose rise to power in Ukraine coincided with an aggressive crackdown on separatist militants, is calling for a temporary cease-fire by government forces. The break in action would allow the armed opposition to lay down their weapons, Poroshenko says.
The cease-fire will begin in “the next few days,” Reuters reports, citing a Ukrainian defense official. The plan was announced during an appearance by Poroshenko at a military academy Wednesday.
From the Kyiv Post:
“Poroshenko declared that ‘Ukraine is in a state of war,’ and that Russia is waging ‘a new type of warfare — with the use of professional subversive groups, mercenaries, volunteers, and the local population. And these volunteers and the local population have “washed” brains in a huge part due to the information war.’ ”
Poroshenko announced his plan for a cease-fire one day after speaking with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin by phone.
“The Kremlin says Putin expressed concern over the deaths of two Russian state television journalists who were killed during clashes between Ukraine’s government and pro-Russian rebels in Luhansk,” NPR’s Jessica Golloher reports from Moscow.
The cease-fire is part of a plan that Poroshenko said should include peace talks with separatist groups in Donetsk and other areas where people are seeking to break away from Ukraine’s central government.
Ukraine’s armed struggle with separatist groups has now been going on for months, as separatists have maintained control of government buildings in the country’s eastern region close to its border with Russia.