Pro-Russian separatists of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic remove the state coat of arms of Ukraine from a gate of the regional administration building, in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk June 9, 2014. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
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Ukraine's new Western-backed president Tuesday ordered the creation of humanitarian corridors in the separatist east that could save civilians and advance his plan to end nearly two months of fighting by the end of the week.The government campaign – dubbed an "anti-terrorist operation" by Kiev and a "punitive operation" by Moscow – has gathered considerable momentum since Poroshenko's May 25 election.Ukraine has refused to pay the gas bill in protest at Russia's decision to nearly double its rates in the wake of the February ouster of Kiev's Kremlin-friendly president after months of pro-EU protests.About 15 percent of Europe's gas from Russia transits through Ukraine – dependence that EU nations have been trying to limit ever since suffering similar disruptions in 2006 and 2009 . However, Kiev appears to be taking a hard-line position by demanding the same price Russia awarded the ousted authorities for their decision to ditch an historic EU partnership.
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