Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko delivers a speech
dedicated to his decree to dissolve parliament in Kiev.
REUTERS/Mykola Lazarenko/Ukrainian Presidential Press
President Petro Poroshenko has dissolved Ukraine's
parliament and announced an election on October 26 in the
country that is fighting a war against separatists that has
driven relations with Russia to an all-time low.
Poroshenko's decision had been expected after the governing
coalition in Ukraine - which ousted its Moscow-backed
president in street protests in February precipitating the
separatist rebellions in its eastern regions - collapsed on
Poroshenko and his government, whose pro-Europe policies have
riled the Kremlin, hope to stabilise the situation in the
east by October sufficiently to hold a relatively normal
election that will earn them greater legitimacy and
strengthen their hand in dealing with Russia.
"I have taken the decision to dissolve parliament for
elections on October 26," Poroshenko said in a Twitter post
in which he urged all Ukrainians to turn out.
He and his liberal supporters will be seeking an endorsement
of the tough line they have taken in the separatist war and
their European integration policies which have brought
confrontation with Russia.
Moscow, angered by the ousting of Yanukovich who fled
following the deaths of more than 100 protesters killed in
Kiev by police snipers, annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula
Poroshenko's leadership accuses Moscow of being behind the
separatist rebellions in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east
which broke out shortly afterwards, though Moscow denies
In a statement to compatriots on his website on Monday night,
Poroshenko hoped the election would clear out many of the
"old guard" who supported Yanukovich and produce a coalition
able to push through vital economic and political reform
after years of corrupt misrule and malpractice.
"The present parliament for a year and a half was a support
for Yanukovich. And the majority of precisely these deputies
adopted dictatorial laws which took the lives of 'Heaven's
Hundred'," he said referring to the protesters who were
killed and who have now acquired martyr status in Kiev.
"Someone has to take responsibility for this - criminal and
political," he said.
He accused some deputies of backing the separatists. "Many
deputies are, if they are not the direct sponsors and
associates, the supporters of the separatist fighters," he
"I consider victory in the Donbass and the victory of
democratic reforming forces in parliament a mutually linked
process," he said.
Donbass is the name given to the industrialised and mainly
Russian-speaking east of Ukraine, where two regions --
Donetsk and Luhansk -- have declared independence from
Ukraine in an attempt to join Russia.
The crisis in Ukraine, in which the United Nations says more
than 2,000 people have been killed, has resulted in the worst
crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold
The United States and its European allies have imposed broad
sanctions on Russia because of its alleged backing for, and
arming of, the rebels.
Poroshenko heads for the Belarussian capital of Minsk on
Tuesday for his first meeting with Russia's Vladimir Putin
The timing of his election announcement was intended to
broadcast to Putin and European Union officials, who will
also be present in Minsk, that Ukraine was steadily
normalising and building democratic structures after the
malpractice of the Yanukovich years.
But with Kiev angered over reports of Russian armoured
vehicles coming across the border on Monday with the aim of
opening a new front in the separatist war the prospects of a
breakthrough in Minsk appear slim.