Ukraine Prez Petro Poroshenko offers ceasefire, pro-Russians reject it

Even before Ukrainian President could declare a unilateral ceasefire, the pro-Russian separatists have thumbed thier nose at the offer, saying that it was hardly a constructive step.

Last Updated: Jun 18, 2014, 19:17 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Moscow: Even before Ukrainian President could declare a unilateral ceasefire, the pro-Russian separatists have thumbed thier nose at the offer, saying that it was hardly a constructive step and that they wanted the Ukrainians to leave their territory instead.

"Our interest is that the occupants leave our territory,"  the Haaretz quoted Denis Pushilin, who is the leader of the self-declared Donetsk People`s Republic, as saying on a Russian television channel.

Pushilin, who is in Moscow, added, "They stop firing, we disarm and they take us unarmed. That is Kiev`s logic”.

His remarks come after Ukrainian President today said that government forces will unilaterally cease fire to allow pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country a chance to lay down weapons or leave the country, a potential major development to bring peace to the country.

The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a possible cease-fire in a phone conversation with Poroshenko late Tuesday. Poroshenko`s office said he also discussed his peace plan with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The plan will begin with my order for a unilateral ceasefire," Poroshenko told reporters in Kiev. "I can say that the period of the ceasefire will be rather short. We anticipate, that immediately after this, the disarming of the illegal military formations will take place."

He said that those who lay down arms and haven`t committed grave crimes will be granted amnesty, and there will be joint patrols against looters and other criminals.
Poroshenko didn`t say when the cease-fire could be declared, but the country`s defense minister, Mykhailo Koval, was quoted as saying the cease-fire could begin "literally within days."

Any such cease-fire would raise the question of whether the separatists would respect it, and whether Russia had the desire or the ability to persuade them to do so.
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.

With Agency Inputs