Ukraine to implement unilateral cease-fire

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(CNN) — Ukraine’s President on Wednesday announced that he will implement a unilateral cease-fire to ease the crisis in the restive eastern part of the country.

Ukrainian forces are putting their arms down only shortly, President Petro Poroshenko said, a period during which he expects separatist groups to disarm.

The plan offers amnesty to those who didn’t commit serious crimes, the President said. An escape corridor will be offered for those who disarm to leave Ukraine.

“We expect that hostages and seized premises will be liberated. We expect that a large number of civilians will use the security guarantees for the citizens of Donbas,” Poroshenko said, referring to Ukraine’s eastern region.

The plan would also include the closure of the Ukraine-Russia border and changes to the constitution to decentralize power.

The Kiev-based government is carrying out what it calls an anti-terrorist operation, centered in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, to try to regain control from pro-Russian separatists.

Russia and Ukraine have been engaged in a tense standoff since March, when Russia annexed Crimea and massed troops along its border with Ukraine. Moscow has since begun to withdraw those forces.

By Mariano Castillo

Journalist Victoria Butenko contributed to this report.