Fighting in eastern Ukraine must be stopped this coming week., Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko has said. Meanwhile, fighting has continued in and around the rebel-held city of Sloviansk.
‘We must stop the gunfire this week,’ Mr Poroshenko said in a statement, a day after his inauguration in Kyiv. ‘For me, every day that people die, every day that Ukraine pays such a high price is unacceptable.’
According to the Ukrainian President, it is vital to ‘restore the Ukrainian border so that the safety of each Ukrainian citizen is guaranteed, irespective of their political preferences.’
Mr Poroshenko also suggested daily meetings of the so-called trilateral ‘contact group’ should be held to try to achieve a peaceful settlement in Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The president’s comments came after the meeting with the special envoy from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Heidi Tagliavini, and the Russian ambassador to Kyiv, Mikhail Zurabov.
The sides should work on enforcing the agreements reached in Normandy during the meeting of leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France.
Petro Poroshenko urged separatists in the east to lay down their arms, saying he would guarantee indemnity from criminal charges to all those who did not have blood on their hands. But the leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic disbelieved his statement and said they would continue mobilisation.
‘Ask Poroshenko what he meant declaring ceasefire. We continue mobilisation and volunteers’ training to defend Donetsk,’ Andrey Purgin, so called deputy prime minister, told Interfax.
Pro-Russian gunmen are still holding a number of government buildings in the east, despite the ongoing ‘counter-terror operation’ by Ukrainian government troops.
Meanwhile, some residential districts in Sloviansk are being battered by mortar fire, Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesperson for the counter-terror centre operation, said on Facebook.