Ukraine's president said Wednesday that government forces will unilaterally cease fire to allow pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country a chance to lay down weapons or leave the country, a potential major development to bring peace to the country.
The Kremlin said Russian President
"The plan will begin with my order for a unilateral cease-fire," Poroshenko told reporters in Kiev. "I can say that the period of the cease-fire will be rather short. We anticipate, that immediately after this, the disarming of the illegal military formations will take place."
He said that those who lay down arms and haven't committed grave crimes will be granted amnesty, and there will be joint patrols against looters and other criminals.
Poroshenko didn't say when the cease-fire could be declared, but the country's defense minister, Mykhailo Koval, was quoted as saying the cease-fire could begin "literally within days."
Any such cease-fire would raise the question of whether the separatists would respect it, and whether Russia had the desire or the ability to persuade them to do so.
Russia has denied Ukrainian and Western claims that it was fomenting the insurgency in the east by sending troops and weapons, insisting that Russian nationals among the rebels are volunteers. Some top rebel leaders visited Moscow Tuesday and met with senior officials and lawmakers.
Russia's Foreign Minister
Separatists have seized government buildings, held disputed referendums and declared independence in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions along Ukraine's eastern border with Russia. Ukrainian troops have struggled to suppress the insurgents, who on Saturday shot down a military transport plane, killing all 49 on board. Authorities say more than 300 people have died in fighting.
Poroshenko was elected after a protest movement drove his predecessor,