Ukraine Rebels Spurn Poroshenko Referendum Offer

Poroshenko Condemns Federalism, But Offers City-Based Decentralization

Speaking today before a parliamentary commission, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lifted his objections to any granting of any autonomy in Eastern Ukraine, offering some limited decentralization referenda on a city-by-city basis.

The offer is far short of what the Minsk ceasefire deal spoke of, and Poroshenko reiterated his opposition to outright federalism inside Ukraine, terming it “a biological weapon which they are trying to impose from outside Ukraine to destroy our unity.”

After the protesters ousted Ukraine’s previous elected government, Poroshenko’s government started a harsh crackdown on ethnic Russians in the east, banning their language and trying to limit trade across the border.

That led to an eastern rebellion, with a call for federalism to grant them enough autonomy to demand some basic rights. Poroshenko, it seems, still isn’t there yet, and the rebels, unsurprisingly, spurned today’s offer of city-by-city votes on limited decentralization for individual towns.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of