Ukraine’s new president Petro Poroshenko has called for separatists in the east of the country to lay down their arms.
Addressing Ukraine’s parliament in Kyiv during his investiture Poroshenko set out his peace plan promising Russian fighters a safe corridor to go home.
‘‘I want peace and will achieve unity in Ukraine. That is why I begin with a peace plan proposal. I firmly urge everyone who illegally took up arms to put them down.’‘
Poroshenko also pledged to push for closer ties with Europe, stating he intended to sign soon the economic part of an association deal with the EU. And, in a clear message to Moscow he vowed not to give up Crimea, saying it was, is and would always be Ukrainian.
‘‘Yesterday I stated firmly to the Russian leadership in Normandy: Crimea is and will be Ukrainian. Full stop! There can be no compromise with anyone on the issue of Crimea, our European path, Ukraine’s political composition. Everything else can be discussed and negotiated.”
After a brief face to face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during Friday’s D-Day commemorations Poroshenko said talks to find a solution to Ukraine’s unity crisis could begin as early as Sunday, in what appeared to be something of a diplomatic breakthrough.