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New Ukraine leader promises end to fighting this week

Published on Jun 9, 2014 6:44 AM
Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko shows the presidential seal during his inauguration ceremony in the parliament hall in Kiev on June 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine’s new Western-backed President Petro Poroshenko vowed on Sunday to halt by the end of the week nearly two months of bloodshed in the separatist east that have threatened the very survival of the ex-Soviet state.

But his pledge was immediately dismissed as political grandstanding by insurgents who have proclaimed independence in two vital industrial regions that are now seeking a formal invitation to join Russia.

And Mr Poroshenko himself did not spell out how he intended to make the pro-Russian gunmen comply with the ceasefire or whether he would order a full military withdrawal from the restive Donetsk and Lugansk regions.

“We must end the fighting this week,” Mr Poroshenko said following a round of talks with Moscow’s ambassador to Kiev and an envoy from the Vienna-based Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

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