Ukraine's President Poroshenko dissolves parliament

Ukraine's President Poroshenko dissolves parliament
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (front) and Defence Minister Colonel General Valery Heletey observe the Independence Day military parade, in the center of Kiev August 24, 2014.

KIEV - Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko on Monday (Aug 26) dissolved parliament, calling for early elections on October 26 as his country continues to grapple with a pro-Russian insurgency in the east.

"I have decided to terminate the powers of Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's parliament) early," his official website quoted him as saying.

"The new parliament will be elected on October 26, 2014."

The dissolution of Ukraine's parliament has been widely expected after the ruling coalition collapsed more than a month ago and Poroshenko promised on August 1 to hold new polls in the coming months, rather than in 2017.

The president on Monday also accused some lawmakers of supporting the pro-Russian rebellion in the east of the country, where over 2,200 people have been killed in the past four months.

"The current makeup of Verkhovna Rada supported (ousted former leader Viktor) Yanukovych," Poroshenko said, accusing lawmakers of passing "dictatorial" laws under the former Moscow-backed president.

The announcement came just hours ahead of talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin in Minsk on Tuesday, where the two are expected to try to inch towards resolving the crisis.

Many lawmakers are "if not direct sponsors and accomplices, then supporters of the separatist militants" in eastern Ukraine, he said, adding that "snap parliament polls are part of my peace plan".

"I consider a victory in Donbass and a victory of the forces of democratic reform in Verkhovna Rada as a linked process," he said, referring to the popular name for Ukraine's eastern separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Lugansk.

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