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Russia calls for federalisation of Ukraine

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

Moscow called on Monday for the federalisation of Ukraine after pro-Kremlin militants occupying the Donetsk government seat proclaimed independence from Kiev and vowed to hold a referendum on joining Russia.

Russia said authorities in Kiev needed to heed the "legitimate demands" of people in the Russian-speaking eastern regions of Ukraine, where there have been calls for independence from the central authorities.

Ukraine could not have long-term stability "without conducting genuine constitutional reform" whereby "the interests of all the country's regions.... would be ensured through federalisation," said the Russian foreign ministry in a statement.

"Stop pointing the finger at Russia, blaming it for all the problems in today's Ukraine."

"The Ukrainian people want a clear answer from Kiev to all of their questions. It's time to heed these legitimate demands."

The Kremlin has been lobbying for Ukraine to become a federation to ensure greater autonomy for its Russian-speaking eastern regions.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, however, said Monday federalisation was a dangerous idea aimed at splitting Ukraine.

Moscow said it was watching carefully the latest events in the largely Russian-speaking east of Ukraine.

The call came after Russia annexed the Russian-speaking peninsula of Crimea in February after staging a referendum Western powers condemned as illegitimate.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140407/russia-calls-federalisation-ukraine