Ukraine ceasefire ends, Petro Poroshenko says will attack pro-Russian rebels

Hours after a ceasfire to make way for negotiations with pro-Russian separatists expired, Ukrainian President Petro Pororshenko blamed the rebels for failing to abide by the truce and pledged attacks to “free our country”.

Last Updated: Jul 01, 2014, 11:36 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Kiev: Hours after a ceasfire to make way for negotiations with pro-Russian separatists expired, Ukrainian President Petro Pororshenko on Tuesday blamed the rebels for failing to abide by the truce and pledged attacks to “free our country”.

The ceasefire that expired on Monday night, was hanging by a thread was under constant strain as the rebels never completely disarmed themselves.

The ceasfire that was also supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, was a way devised to give rebels a chance to disarm and start a broader peace process including an amnesty and new elections.

However, Poroshenko blames Russia for fomenting the trouble in Ukraine and has refused Russian offers to defuse the crisis.

“We will attack and free our country. The decision not to continue the ceasefire is our answer to terrorists, militants and marauders," Poroshenko said on television.

Poroshenko`s 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.

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. Poroshenko, a wealthy candy magnate elected May 25, had already extended the cease-fire from seven days.

"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 Ukraine`s 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."
With Agency Inputs