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President Poroshenko gets down to work in troubled Ukraine

Published on Jun 8, 2014 12:37 PM

KIEV (AFP) - Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko gets down to work on Sunday, after vowing at his inauguration to avert civil war and mend ties with Russia as his nation faces disintegration and economic collapse.

Mr Poroshenko took the oath of office on Saturday, the 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.

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