Putin calls for talks on east Ukraine 'statehood'; rebels fire on ship

August 31st, 2014  
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Topic: Putin calls for talks on east Ukraine 'statehood'; rebels fire on ship

By Katya Golubkova and Aleksandar Vasovic MOSCOW/MARIUPOL Ukraine (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Sunday for immediate talks on the "statehood" of southern and eastern Ukraine, although his spokesman said this did not mean Moscow now endorsed rebel calls for independence for territory they have seized. The Kremlin leader's remarks, two days after a public appearance in which he compared the Kiev government with Nazis and warned the West not to "mess with us", came as Europe and the United States prepared possible further sanctions to halt what they say is direct Russian military involvement in the war in Ukraine. Germany aired suspicions that Moscow might be trying to create a land corridor to supply Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in March, while the four-month conflict moved onto the sea for the first time on Sunday.


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