Ukranian president Poroshenko offers amnesty to armed groups

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's new president is promising peace and calling for dialogue with the country's east, where Ukrainian officials say a violent separatist insurgency has left more than 200 people dead.

In his inaugural address in parliament today, Petro Poroshenko called for armed groups to lay down their weapons and offered amnesty for rebels who "don't have blood on their hands. He also offered a corridor for safe passage of "Russian militants" out of the country.

But Poroshenko gave little sign of a quick resolution to the conflict, saying he will not talk with rebels he called "gangsters and killers." He also took a firm line on Russia's annexation of Crimea, insisting that the Black Sea peninsula "was, is and will be Ukrainian."

Rebel leaders in the east are dismissing Poroshenko's speech, saying his statement "doesn't concern us."


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