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    Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych interviewed by RIA Novosti

    Yanukovych: Granting Autonomy Status to Donbass Should Be Decided Via Referendum

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    The issue of granting Ukraine's eastern Donbass region the status of autonomy and broader powers within the country should be decided through a referendum, former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych told Sputnik Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The ex-Ukrainian president added that, for the sake of establishing peace within the country, the idea for a referendum would gain support of all the Ukrainian regions.

    "I think the issue of granting the rights of autonomy with broader powers within Ukraine to Donbass could be put to a referendum," Yanukovych said in an interview with Sputnik.

    In order to settle the crisis, authorities should "allow the Donbass residents to live in compliance with their traditions, views on history, to speak any language and to listen to any music," Yanukovych noted.

    In late February, Yanukovych said that if Kiev did not comply with the Minsk ceasefire agreements, an autonomy referendum for Donbass should be held.

    In April 2014, Kiev’s authorities started a military operation against the self-proclaimed people’s republics of Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) in eastern Ukraine. Both DPR and LPR had claimed independence from the authorities that had come to power as a result what they consider to be a coup. According to the recent UN data, more than 10,000 people suffered from the conflict.

    The Minsk agreements of February 2015, brokered by Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine, imply the establishment of the ceasefire regime in eastern Ukraine. The warring parties continue to exchange fire, despite the ceasefire deal.

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    Viktor Yanukovych, Donbass, Ukraine
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