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Ukraine Separatists Announce Government as NATO Warns Putin

Friday, 16 May 2014 05:32 PM

Ukrainians in Donetsk announced the formation of a government Friday for their self-declared breakaway state, as NATO’s chief warned of further Russian intervention in the run-up to May 25 elections.

Alexander Boroday will be prime minister of the “Donetsk People’s Republic,” Dmitry Gau, a spokesman for the separatist group, said by phone. Donetsk and Luhansk held unofficial referendums on secession last weekend, announcing large majorities in favor.

The government in Kiev and its allies in the United States and European Union said the vote was illegal,and accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of stirring up unrest in eastern Ukraine after annexing Crimea. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this week that Russia won’t send troops into eastern Ukraine and isn’t trying to foment separatist sentiments there.

“Guarantees given by Russia about sovereignty and integrity” can’t be trusted, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters in Romania. “We want Russia to respect its international obligations and stop trying to destabilize the situation.”

NATO says Putin, who seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in March, still has 40,000 troops on Ukraine’s border and hasn’t fulfilled a promise last week to pull them back. The United States and Britain have vowed to tighten sanctions on Russia if the presidential election is undermined.

Ukraine’s army is fighting to restore control in eastern provinces where separatists seized many government buildings. The Interior Ministry said yesterday that Aleksey Relke, commander of a separatist military group in Luhansk, had been detained.

Ukraine says the military operation will stop after separatist groups surrender weapons and release hostages. The pro-Russian rebels have been excluded from national unity talks that began this week.

Russia has objected to the plan to hold Ukrainian elections amid the current unrest, though it has softened its opposition in recent weeks. Lavrov signaled that Russia views Petro Poroshenko, the billionaire frontrunner in the vote, as someone it can do business with.

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Ukrainians in Donetsk announced the formation of a government Friday for their self-declared breakaway state, as NATO’s chief warned of further Russian intervention in the run-up to May 25 elections.
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Friday, 16 May 2014 05:32 PM
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