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Russia asking pro-federalization forces in Ukraine to postpone referendum — Putin

May 07, 2014, 17:31 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Putin urged Kiev authorities to stop punitive operations in the South-East of Ukraine as they were only aggravating the situation

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© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metsel

MOSCOW, May 07. /ITAR-TASS/. President Vladimir Putin asked the supporters of federalization in Ukraine to postpone a referendum on the status of their regions from May 11 until a later date in order to create proper conditions for the plebiscite.

“We are asking representative of the South-East of Ukraine, the supporters of federalisation to postpone the referendum slated for May 11 in order to create proper conditions for this dialogue,” he said after talks with Swiss President and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Didier Burkhalter on Wednesday, May 7.

Putin stressed that the presidential elections announced by Kiev were “a movement in the right direction all by itself but they won’t change anything if people in Ukraine do not understand how their rights will be guaranteed after the elections”.

Ukrainian army's punitive raid only aggravating situation, Putin says

Putin urged Kiev authorities to stop punitive operations in the South-East of Ukraine as they were only aggravating the situation.

“Russia calls for an immediate halt to all military and punitive operations in the South-East of Ukraine,” Putin said.

He noted that “this method of settling the internal political conflict is not a reliable way of resolving all political disputes”. “On the contrary, they deepen the divisions,” he added.

Putin added that Russia is interested in the speediest possible settlement in Ukraine that would take into account the interests of all citizens no matter where they live.

“Russia believes that the crisis that has broken out in Ukraine and is actively evolving by the worst possible scenario is to be blamed on those who organised the state coup in Kiev,” the president noted. He stressed that the masterminds and perpetrators of the coup had not bothered to disarm far-right and nationalist elements in the country.

"Western states share responsibility for Ukrainian crisis"

The West’s statements that the key to the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine lies in Russia is a ruse invented by Western partners who have created a deadlock situation in that country, President Vladimir Putin said.

“This is a ruse of our Western partners, which is absolutely unfounded,” he said after talks with Didier Burkhalter.

Putin said the current crisis in Ukraine is to be blamed on those who organised and carried out the state coup in Kiev and those who supported it by providing political, financial and information support and led the situation to the tragedy in Odessa where over 40 people were burnt alive by extremists in the Trade Union House.

“Watching this footage makes one blood run cold,” he said.

The president said they were bearing their share of responsibility for the current situation in Ukraine.

He stressed that “Russia is ready to do everything it can, all the necessary steps to resolve the situation”.

“I understand the people in the South-East of Ukraine who say: if they in Kiev can stage a coup, arm themselves, seize government buildings, police stations and military units, why can’t we guarantee our own interest and legitimate rights?” Putin said.

Merkel's proposal to organize roundtable over Ukraine backed

Putin called for establishing a direct dialogue between Kiev and the South-East of Ukraine.

He supported German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to organize a roundtable with all parties to the conflict in Ukraine.

“We support [this] and think that this is a good proposal and we will facilitate it in every way we can,” Putin said adding that the proposal had been discussed during his telephone conversation with Merkel last week.

The president did not say whether a new conference on Ukraine could be held after the agreement reached at the previous one had basically been wrecked.

“I don’t know how realistic Geneva-2 on Ukraine would be,” Putin said, adding that “there is no lasting solution to the crisis in Ukraine other than an open, honest and equal dialogue”.

He also soothed those who are worried by the presence of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border and assured them that the troops were “in places where they conduct their regular exercises - at the training grounds”, which can easily be verified by modern reconnaissance methods, including from space.

Putin urges to set free political prisoners

The president also urged to set free all political prisoners and welcomed the release of Pavel Gubarev, the 'people's governor' of Donetsk.

“We welcome the release of Mr. Gubarev from prison in Kiev but we are waiting for the release of all political prisoners [in Ukraine],” Putin said after talks with Didier Burkhalter.

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