(Reuters) – Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Tuesday government forces would renew offensive operations against rebels and “free our lands”, hours after a ceasefire to allow for peace talks with the pro-Russian separatists had expired.
Poroshenko, who accuses Russia of fanning violence in eastern Ukraine, dismissed Moscow’s offers to defuse the crisis, and blamed the rebels for failing to keep to the truce or follow a peace plan he had outlined. “We will attack and free our lands. The decision not to continue the ceasefire is our answer to terrorists, militants and marauders,” he said in a televised statement delivered in front of the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag. Continue reading
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Russia Given Crimea Deadline as Yanukovych Warns of Civil War
Germany told Russia it must switch course in Crimea by next week or risk more sanctions as Ukraine’s deposed president warned of a possible civil war.
The European Union will discuss harsher penalties on March 17 barring “obvious changes in Russia’s actions,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said today in Estonia. A planned March 16 referendum in Crimea on whether to join Russia should be halted, he said. Toppled President Viktor Yanukovych told reporters in Russia that lawlessness is spreading in Ukraine, fomented by the “fascists and ultranationalists” who are in charge in Kiev. Continue reading