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Poroshenko sworn in with Ukraine facing civil war

Published on Jun 8, 2014 6:33 AM

KIEV (AFP) - Western-backed tycoon Petro Poroshenko vowed Saturday to avert civil war and mend ties with Russia after being sworn in as Ukraine's fifth post-Soviet president with the nation facing disintegration and economic collapse.

Mr Poroshenko took the oath of office one day after holding his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin since a May 25 election victory entrusted him with stemming a bloody crisis that has shaken the post-Cold War order and redrawn Europe's map.

The 48-year-old candy magnate – dubbed the "chocolate king" – first asked a packed session of parliament to observe a minute of silence for the 100 people killed in three days of a brutal crackdown in Kiev that led to the February ouster of Ukraine's Kremlin-backed regime.  

The self-made billionaire then vowed to grant amnesty to any insurgents who had "no blood on their hands" as the first step in a peace initiative designed to save the nation of 46 million – whose Crimea peninsula was annexed by Russia in March – from fracturing further along ethnic lines.  

Ukraine's new president Petro Poroshenko (right) waves as he attends a flag raising ceremony after his inauguration in Kiev on June 7, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
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