posted at 04:50
Author Name: Michael B Kelley and Reuters
Putin Wants Statehood For Southeastern Ukraine
Russia President Vladimir Putin wants Ukraine's government to begin negotiations on the issues of statehood for the southeast of Ukraine, where Moscow is backing a rebellion, according to an interview with Russia's state TV Channel 1. The statements are the furthest signal yet that Russia has plans to bring parts of Ukraine back into its orbit, or at least put more pressure on Ukraine to bend to Russia's will. The term is mostly used now by Russian nationalists who wish for Russia to reconquer the area. Vladimir Lukin, former Russian ambassador to the U.S., told a Russian commentator that Putin will use as much force is necessary to force Kiev to negotiate on Russia's terms. The new rebel advance has drawn increasing concern from Ukraine's Western allies, who say its success is a result of reinforcement by armoured columns of Russian troops. A Russian paratroop commander said an unspecified number of Russian paratroops were swapped for 63 Ukrainian soldiers. Kiev has in the past said some of its soldiers crossed into Russia to escape from fighting on the Ukrainian side of the frontier, behaviour that contrasts with that of the Russians it says crossed the border to wage war in Ukraine. Russian soldiers are pictured next to tanks in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky near the border with Ukraine, August 23, 2014.

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