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AKIPRESS.COM - Petro Poroshenko took the oath of office as Ukraine's president Saturday, the Ukrainian media report.
In his inaugural address to the Verkhovna Rada, the country's parliament, Poroshenko promised amnesty "for those who do not have blood on their hands." That appeared to apply both to separatist, pro-Russia insurgents in the country's east and to nationalist groups that oppose them.
Poroshenko also promised dialogue with citizens in the eastern regions, but excluded the insurgents. "Talking to gangsters and killers is not our avenue," he said, according to a translator. He also called for early regional elections in the east.
Poroshenko, who became a billionaire as a candy tycoon, was elected on May 25, three months after the pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych fled the country in the wake of months of street protests.
Putin has denied allegations by Kiev and the West that Russia has fomented the rebellion in the east, and he insisted Friday that Poroshenko needs to speak directly to representatives from the east.