Ukraine leader promises to pass bill giving rebellious eastern regions more autonomy

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Ukraine's president has promised to introduce legislation in parliament as early as next week that would offer greater autonomy to rebellious regions in the country's pro-Russian east, where separatists have been battling government troops for almost five months.

President Petro Poroshenko announced the move in a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, promising to change the status of those regions but rejecting federalization or "alienation" from the Ukrainian state.

Ukraine, Russia, and the pro-Moscow rebels signed a cease-fire deal Friday, paving the way for permanent peace talks in a conflict that has claimed at least 3,000 civilian lives.

But Poroshenko's offer is unlikely to satisfy the demands of the separatists, many of whom continue to call for federalization or total independence from Ukraine.