Ukraine rebels ignore Putin call to delay self-rule vote

May 9th, 2014  
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Topic: Ukraine rebels ignore Putin call to delay self-rule vote

By Matt Robinson and Gabriela Baczynska DONETSK, Ukraine/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine ignored a public call by Russian President Vladimir Putin to postpone a referendum on self-rule, declaring they would go ahead on Sunday with a vote that could lead to war. The decision, which contradicted the conciliatory tone set by Putin just a day earlier, caused consternation in the West, which fears the referendum will tear Ukraine apart. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said Russia was heading down a \"dangerous and irresponsible path\" and the situation in Ukraine was \"extremely combustible\". Denis Pushilin, a leader of the self-declared separatist Donetsk People's Republic, expressed gratitude to Putin but said the \"People's Council\" had voted unanimously on Thursday to hold the plebiscite as planned.


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