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26 May 2014 12:52
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko. (Sergie Supinsky, AFP)
president, Petro Poroshenko, said on Monday he would not negotiate with armed
separatists in the Russian-speaking east of his country but was open to
dialogue with people there with grievances, provided they rejected violence.
separatists have taken control of some towns and cities in eastern Ukraine,
which includes the Donbass coalfield, and prevented people there from voting in
Sunday’s presidential election from which Poroshenko has emerged as the
“They want to
preserve a bandit state which is held in place by force of arms ... These are
Nobody in any civilised state will hold negotiations with
terrorists,” Poroshenko told a news conference.
is one of the functions of the state,” said Poroshenko (48) a
confectionary magnate with broad government experience, adding that he
supported the continuation of Ukraine’s “anti-terrorist operation” in
The separatists have
declared autonomous “people’s republics” in eastern Ukraine after two
makeshift referendums and say Kiev’s authority is no longer valid there.
about how he would bring peace to the east, where scores have been killed in
clashes involving the Ukrainian army, Ukrainian militias and pro-Russian
separatists, Poroshenko said Kiev would address genuine grievances and provide
assurances on people’s rights there, including the use of the Russian language.
“A dialogue with
all residents of the Donbass would be effective,” Poroshenko said.
Russia has expressed
sympathy for the separatists, who it says are trying to defend the rights and
liberties of the region’s Russian-speaking majority, but it denies arming or
training the rebels.
Poroshenko said he hoped
to meet Russian leaders in the first half of June, adding that restoring
stability in eastern Ukraine would require Moscow’s involvement.
“I hope Russia will
support efforts to tackle the situation in the east [of Ukraine],”
On the question of
Crimea, a Ukrainian region annexed by Moscow in March after a referendum,
Poroshenko made clear he would explore all available legal channels to secure
the return of the Black Sea peninsula to Kiev’s rule.
“There is no
international basis for the annexation of Crimea.
Poroshenko, who election
officials have indicated will probably be inaugurated in mid-June, said he
hoped to visit neighbouring Poland, a staunch supporter of Ukraine’s hopes of
moving closer to the European Union, on June 4. – Reuters
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