Poroshenko takes oath of office as Ukrainian president, 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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016-r-09-(President Petro Poroshenko, in inaugural speech, through a translator)-“relations with Russia”-In this English translation of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s inaugural address, he says it is important that relations improve with Russia. (7 Jun 2014)

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015-r-11-(President Petro Poroshenko, in inaugural speech, through a translator)-“the government system”-In this English translation of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s inaugural address, he states his disagreement with Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. (7 Jun 2014)

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018-r-14-(sound of military band playing, as newly-inaugurated President Petro Poroshenko reviews the troops)–This is the sound of a military band playing as newly-inaugurated President Petro Poroshenko reviews the troops. (7 Jun 2014)

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014-r-14-(President Petro Poroshenko, in inaugural speech, through a translator)-“on their hands”-In this English translation of Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s inaugural address, he offers amnesty to rebels in his country. (7 Jun 2014)

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017-r-26-(sound of singing, after swearing-in of Ukraine’s new president)–This is the sound of singing after the swearing-in of Ukraine’s new president. (7 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO MOSB134: Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko, front, sings the national anthem during his inauguration ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Poroshenko took the oath of office as Ukraine’s president Saturday, calling on armed groups to lay down their weapons as he assumed leadership of a country mired in a violent uprising and economic troubles. In the background is parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov. (AP Photo/Anastasia Sirotkina, Pool) (7 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO MOSB137: Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko swears on the Bible as he takes the oath of office during his inauguration ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Poroshenko took the oath of office as Ukraine’s president Saturday, calling on armed groups to lay down their weapons as he assumed leadership of a country mired in a violent uprising and economic troubles. (AP Photo/Anastasia Sirotkina, Pool) (7 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO MOSB130: Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko holds a mace, the Ukrainian symbol of power, during the inauguration ceremony in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Petro Poroshenko took the oath of office as Ukraine’s president Saturday, calling on armed groups to lay down their weapons as he assumed leadership of a country mired in a violent uprising and economic troubles. (AP Photo/Anastasia Sirotkina, Pool) (7 Jun 2014)

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APPHOTO MOSB129: Ukraine’s new President Petro Poroshenko holds a mace, the Ukrainian symbol of power, during his inauguration ceremony, in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, June 7, 2014. Poroshenko took the oath of office as Ukraine’s president Saturday, calling on armed groups to lay down their weapons as he assumed leadership of a country mired in a violent uprising and economic troubles. In the background is parliament speaker Oleksandr Turchynov. (AP Photo/Anastasia Sirotkina, Pool) (7 Jun 2014)

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