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Ukrainian President Ends Cease-Fire

Peace is, was and will be my goal, he added. Only the instruments of achieving it are changing.

Published: July 2, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • A woman weeps outside of her burning home in Slovyansk after it was shelled by government forces on Monday.
    Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was abandoning a unilateral cease-fire in the conflict with pro-Russian separatists and sending military forces back on the offensive after talks with Russia and European leaders failed to start a broader peace process.

Poroshenkos 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.

A grave Poroshenko made a televised address early Tuesday vowing that we will attack, and we will free our country. The cease-fire expired at 10 p.m. Monday.

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.

But rebels did not disarm, and the cease-fire was continually violated, with both sides blaming each other. 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 Ukraines 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.

Ending the cease-fire, this is our answer to terrorists, armed insurgents and looters, to all who mock the peaceful population, who are paralyzing the economy of the region...who are depriving people of a normal, peaceful life, Poroshenko said in his speech.

Poroshenkos decision followed four-way talks in search of a solution with Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on Monday as the deadline approached. He issued a statement after the talks ended, saying the key conditions needed to continue the cease-fire had not been met.

While Putin has expressed support for the cease-fire, the West has accused Russia of sending weapons and fighters across the border into Ukraine. Russia says any Russians there have gone as private citizens.

Poroshenko said he meant for a cease-fire to be followed by an amnesty for fighters who had not considered serious crimes, and political concessions such as early local and regional elections, protections for speakers of Russian and, in the longer term, changes to the constitution to decentralize power to the regions.

The end of the cease-fire raises the question of what action the Ukrainian military can take. It has so far been unable to dislodge rebels occupying the city of Slovyansk or to retake control of three key border crossings with Russia. At one point, the rebels shot down a government military transport, killing 49 service members.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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