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    Ukraine’s Former Deputy PM Urges Kiev to Negotiate with Breakaway Regions

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    Ukraine’s former Deputy Prime Minister Sergiy Arbuzov says the new government in Kiev mustn't close its eyes to results of the May referendums that created Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in the country's southeast.

    MOSCOW, June 4 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine’s former Deputy Prime Minister Sergiy Arbuzov says the new government in Kiev mustn't close its eyes to results of the May referendums that created Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics in the country's southeast.

    “It’s important to realize that the will of the people expressed in both regions on May 11 is a very important social and political factor. And it’s something that Kiev must reckon with, they must understand it,” Arbuzov said Tuesday in an interview with RIA Novosti.

    The former deputy prime minister, who succeeded Mykola Azarov as the interim head of government in January 2014, condemned Kiev for using artillery against its opposition in the east and choosing “bullets and missiles over words.”

    “It’s high time that politicians in Kiev came to terms with the fact that people in Donetsk and Luhansk regions abhor violence and ultimatums, and the results of May 11 referendums only proved this point,” Arbuzov stressed in a reference to the votes where the absolute majority demanded greater autonomy.

    The Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics declared themselves independent states following the plebiscites in May and soon started to form governments and law enforcement agencies. In a treaty on May 24, they agreed to unify under the name of Novorossiya.

    The interim Kiev government refused to recognize the legitimacy of any of these decisions and continued the military operation launched mid-April against the independence supporters in the regions.

    Moscow has repeatedly condemned the new Kiev authorities for what it called “a punitive operation” and stressed the need for de-escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.

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