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Ukraine to establish safety corridor to help civilians flee fighting

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By The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 5:48 p.m.

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine's new president on Tuesday ordered security officials to establish a corridor for safe passage for civilians in eastern regions rocked by a pro-Russian insurgency, as he began to form his government team by tapping a media mogul as chief of staff.

Petro Poroshenko ordered security agencies to organize transport and relocation to help civilians leave areas affected by fighting between rebels and Ukraine's military, his office said in a brief statement published online. It gave no details on where the civilians could be relocated, or what accommodation was available.

Ukraine's Interior Ministry later elaborated that civilians who want to leave the area of fighting could do so through government checkpoints, where they will be provided with documents allowing access to pensions and other social payments, health care and education. They would be able to move to any other region of Ukraine where authorities could provide temporary accommodation, the ministry said in a statement.

It said that a center will be established under the Emergency Situations Ministry to help coordinate assistance.

Poroshenko announced the appointments of media executive and business ally Boris Lozhkin as chief of staff and Svyatoslav Tsegolka, a journalist at the TV station owned by Poroshenko, as press secretary.

The president did not announce any shakeup in the defense or foreign ministries, where changes could be pivotal for Ukraine's ongoing offensive in the east. Ukrainian officials say at least 200 people, including 59 servicemen, have been killed in clashes in the east.

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