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    Kremlin Aide Says Putin, Trump Discussed Issue of Donbass Referendum in Helsinki

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump discussed at the Helsinki summit the issue of holding a referendum in Donbass on the status of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DPR) and the People’s Republics of Lugansk (LPR), Kremlin aide Yury Ushakov said.

    On July 19, the Bloomberg news agency reported, citing two people who were in attendance at a closed-door speech of Putin, that the leader, during his recent meeting with Trump in Helsinki, said he had proposed holding a referendum in eastern Ukraine under the auspices of international organizations so that local residents could determine the status of the breakaway territories themselves.

    "This proposal was discussed, however no reaction has followed yet," Ushakov told Izvestia newspaper in an interview published on Wednesday.

    On July 20, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said that specific proposals on settling the conflict in eastern Ukraine were made at the Helsinki summit.

    Ushakov added that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US State Secretary Mike Pompeo within the framework of the Helsinki summit discussed the issue of Russian diplomatic property in the United States.

    READ MORE: Bolton Delivers Offer to Hold Trump-Putin Summit in Washington in 2018 – Kremlin

    "As far as I know, when Minister Lavrov negotiated with Pompeo, they raised this issue," Ushakov added.

    The conflict in Donbass started in 2014, when Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics that refused to recognize the new government in Kiev, which came to power after what they considered to be a coup. In February 2015, the warring parties signed the Minsk peace accords to end the hostilities in the region. Despite this, the situation has remained tense, with both parties accusing each other of ceasefire violations.

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    Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Ukraine, United States, Russia
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