A day after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced he was ending a ceasefire with the ethnic Russian rebels in the east, Ukrainian troops launched airstrikes and artillery barrages against rebel positions, and Poroshenko vowed to see the offensive rid Ukraine of “the parasites.”
The ceasefire lasted only a week, and talks were limited, as Poroshenko continued to demand the disarmament and surrender of all rebels as a condition for any negotiations on reforms. Poroshenko complained, on announcing the end of the ceasefire, that the rebels weren’t serious about accepting this “offer.”
The US State Department cheered the announcement of the ceasefire’s end, saying Ukraine’s military has a “responsibility” and “obligation” to respond to the eastern rebels militarily.
Russia, which sought to see the ceasefire extended, was harshly critical, and accused the US of “influencing” Poroshenko’s decision to restart the war. President Vladimir Putin also reiterated his intention to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine from being wiped out militarily, and urged the EU to help them get back to peace talks.