Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko sworn in, vows unity

Pro-Russian rebels reject new Prez, say fight for independence is on

Kiev: Western-backed tycoon Petro Poroshenko vowed on Saturday to avert civil war and mend ties with Russia after being sworn in as Ukraine’s fifth post-Soviet president with the nation facing disintegration and economic collapse.

Mr Poroshenko took the oath of office one day after holding his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin since a May 25 election victory entrusted him with taming a bloody crisis that has shaken the post-Cold War order and redrawn Europe’s map.

The 48-year-old candy magnate dubbed the “chocolate king” first asked a packed session of parliament to observe a minute of silence for the 100 people killed in three days of carnage in Kiev.

He then vowed to amnesty any insurgents who had “no blood on their hands” as the first step in a peace initiative designed to save the nation of 46 million whose Crimea peninsula was annexed by Russia in March from fracturing further along ethnic lines.

However, pro-Russian separatists poured scorn on peace overtures from Ukraine’s new president as fighting rumbled on in the east of the country. Rebel spokesmen in Donetsk, which has declared independence from Ukraine and wants to unite with neighbouring Russia, said the fight would continue.

( Source : AFP )
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