Ukraine president goes to east, calls cease-fire; Russian forces swell

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko ordered his forces to cease fire Friday and halt military operations for a week against pro-Russia separatists in the country’s east, though Russia immediately dismissed suggestions of a peace plan as an ultimatum instead. Poroshenko, speaking during his first trip as president to the troubled east, said troops would still fire back if separatists attacked them or civilian residents. The cease-fire would be temporary, he said, and would end at 10 a.m. June 27.

The Ukrainian army is ceasing fire…But this does not mean that we will not resist.

Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian president, on his web site

Separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions have declared independence from his government in Kiev, occupied public buildings and fought with heavy weapons against troops from the government in Kiev. Rebel leaders have previously dismissed Poroshenko’s plan and it remains to be seen to what extent they would comply — or how much pressure Russia would put on them to cease fire as well. The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned seven individuals, including the acting governor of Sevastopol in Crimea and separatist leaders in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, according to a statement issued today in Washington.

In case of aggression toward our troops, we will do everything to defend the territory of our state.

Petro Poroshenko