Ukraine leaders says Kiev 'not against' referendum

Photo: Ukraine leaders says Kiev 'not against' referendum / Other News

Ukraine's interim president said on Monday that the Kiev leadership was "not against" a referendum being held on the type of state Ukraine should be and added he was sure it would confirm the wish of the majority for a united, independent country, Reuters reported.

The holding of a referendum has been one of the demands of separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Oleksander Turchinov, in televised remarks to a parliamentary committee, added that such a poll could be held at the same time as a presidential election on May 25.

He added that an anti-terrorist operation involving the army would begin in eastern Ukraine, unless rebels laid down their arms, and that the Donbass region "will soon be stabilized".

A change of power took place in Ukraine on February 22.

The Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from the power, changed the constitution and scheduled presidential elections for May 25.

Yanukovych said he was forced to leave Ukraine under the threat of violence, and he remains the legally elected head of state.

A number of provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as the Crimea did not recognize the legitimacy of the Rada and decided on possibility of holding a referendum on the future fate of the regions.

The vast majority of residents of Crimea - 96 percent - voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, in a referendum held March 16.

With the exception of Russia most countries refused to recognize the referendum and its results.

On March 18, Russia and Crimea signed an agreement on Crimea as well as Sevastopol city joining the Russian Federation.

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