Russia proposes international 'support group' on Ukraine

Photo: Russia proposes international 'support group' on Ukraine / Other News

Russia proposed on Monday creating an international support group to mediate in the Ukraine crisis but set out goals unlikely to be acceptable to the West, Reuters reported.

In response to western calls for a "contact group", Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that its proposed international support group would push for Ukrainian recognition of the Crimean referendum and would urge Ukraine to implement portions of a February 21 peace deal.

The support group would also urge Ukraine to adopt a new constitution setting out broad powers for the country's regions, and require Ukraine to uphold military and political neutrality.

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

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

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

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

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