UK & World News

  • 1 July 2014, 3:31

Ukraine Leader Ends Ceasefire: 'We Will Attack'

Ukraine's ceasefire with pro-Russian separatists has been halted with the President saying his forces will go on the offensive against the rebels.

Petro Poroshenko said in a statement on his website that "we will attack and we will free our country".

The ceasefire - which was designed to give rebels the chance to disarm and start a broader peace process - expired on Monday night.

"The unique chance to put the peace plan into practice was not realised," Mr Poroshenko said in a speech prepared for delivery to the nation.

"This happened because of the criminal actions of the fighters.

"After discussion of the situation, I, as commander in chief, took the decision not to continue the unilateral ceasefire.

"Ending the ceasefire, this is our answer to terrorists, armed insurgents and looters, to all who mock the peaceful population, who are paralysing the economy of the region ... who are depriving people of a normal, peaceful life."

European leaders and the US have urged Russia to use its influence with the rebels to ease the bloodshed and have threatened to impose another round of economic sanctions against Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin has expressed support for the ceasefire, but the West has accused Russia of allowing weapons and fighters to flow across the border into Ukraine.

Russia says any Russians there have gone as private citizens.