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Ukraine ends cease-fire, begins military offensive against pro-Russian separatists

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko has ended a truce with the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, who have been causing chaos in the region since April.

Within hours of Poroshenko's announcement Tuesday morning, Ukrainian forces struck separatist bases and checkpoints with air and artillery strikes. Reuters reports that there was no immediate word on casualties in the region, though the Ukrainian foreign ministry tweeted Monday night that 27 Ukrainian servicemen have been killed since the cease-fire went into effect on June 20.

Poroshenko called the rebels in Ukraine "dirt and parasites" who "deprive people of normal, peaceful life" when he announced he wouldn't renew the unilateral, 10-day cease-fire. He accused Russia of encouraging the conflict by allowing rebel fighters to cross the border and criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin in his statement, saying that he had not seen Russia take "concrete steps for de-escalating the situation, including strengthening controls on the border."

In response, Russia implied that the U.S. was a factor in Poroshenko's decision. "The change in Kiev's position... could not have come about without influence from abroad, despite the position of leading EU member states," the country's foreign ministry said in a statement. Sergei Naryshkin, one of Putin's allies and the speaker of Russia's lower house of parliament, called for a new cease-fire.

Poroshenko said he would renew one "at any moment" if all sides would adhere to his peace plan, which includes freeing hostages and implementing border controls.