Ukraine president proposes cease-fire with rebels

Police officers stand next to a body of an unidentified woman killed by shrapnel following a shelling from Ukrainian government forces, outside railway station in Donetsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Max Vetrov)
Police officers stand next to a body of an unidentified woman killed by shrapnel following a shelling from Ukrainian government forces, outside railway station in Donetsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Max Vetrov)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine new president says he will propose a detailed peace plan this week that includes a cease-fire with the separatist rebels in the country’s east.

President Petro Poroshenko spoke Monday as he opened a meeting of the national security council after a bloody weekend in which the rebels shot down a military transport plane, killing 49 crew and troops.

“A cease-fire will be proposed as the beginning of (my) peace plan,” he said.

There was no immediate word on whether the separatists would agree to any eventual cease-fire offer.

Ukraine has struggled to suppress an insurgency by armed pro-Russia separatists who have seized government buildings, declared independence and fought government troops. More than 300 people have died.

Poroshenko had outlined a peace proposal in his June 7 inaugural address, saying he was willing to offer amnesty to fighters who did not have “blood on their hands” and would protect the use of the Russian language. He also proposed a jobs program and an early parliamentary election.

Poroshenko also proposed holding early local elections in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions — which have declared independence from the central government in Kiev. He says that would allow residents to choose local officials who would be given the responsibility for ensuring the peace.

Ukraine accuses Russia of backing the rebels, which Russia denies.

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