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Ukraine president offers cease-fire

By The Associated Press

This article was published June 18, 2014 at 8:34 a.m.

ukrainian-president-petro-poroshenko-right-attends-a-graduation-ceremony-at-the-ukrainian-military-academy-in-kiev-ukraine-wednesday-june-18-2014-the-ukrainian-president-on-wednesday-announced-a-plan-to-end-the-fighting-in-eastern-ukraine-promising-a-unilateral-cease-fire-after-discussions-with-the-russian-and-german-leaders-a-potential-major-development-to-bring-peace-to-the-country-at-left-is-acting-ukrainian-defense-minister-mykhailo-koval

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, attends a graduation ceremony at the Ukrainian military academy in Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, June 18, 2014. The Ukrainian president on Wednesday announced a plan to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, promising a unilateral cease-fire after discussions with the Russian and German leaders, a potential major development to bring peace to the country. At left is acting Ukrainian Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval.

KIEV, Ukraine — The Ukrainian president Wednesday announced a plan to end the fighting in eastern Ukraine, promising a unilateral cease-fire after discussions with the Russian and German leaders.

Petro Poroshenko's plan would offer pro-Russian insurgents in the eastern provinces that form the nation's industrial heartland a chance to lay down weapons or leave the country. It could also help ease the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War, which was triggered by Moscow's annexation of Crimea that followed the ouster of Ukraine's pro-Russia president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed a possible cease-fire in a phone conversation with Poroshenko late Tuesday, the Kremlin said. Poroshenko also discussed his peace plan with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, their offices said.

"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.

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