Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said he was abandoning a unilateral cease-fire in the conflict with pro-Russia separatists and sending military forces back on the offensive after talks with Russia and European leaders failed to start a broader peace process.
Poroshenko’s decision, announced shortly after the much-violated 10-day cease-fire expired, raises the prospect of renewed escalation of a conflict that has killed more than 400 people.
A grave Poroshenko made a televised address early today vowing that “we will attack, and we will free our country.” The cease-fire expired at 10 p.m. Monday.
There was no immediate sign of a response from Russia early today.
The idea behind the truce announced June 20 was to give pro-Russia rebels a chance to disarm and to start a broader peace process including an amnesty and new elections. Poroshenko, a wealthy candy magnate elected May 25, already had extended the cease-fire from seven days.
But rebels did not disarm, and the cease-fire was continually violated, with both sides blaming each other.