Putin urges ‘statehood’ for southeastern Ukraine

World Today

Putin in Minsk Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting in Minsk on August 26, 2014. The presidents of Russia and Ukraine hold key talks Tuesday with little hopes for a breakthrough in the conflict pitting the former Soviet state against pro-Russian separatist rebels. (Photo: AFP/ Ria Novosti/Kremlin Pool/Alexei Druzhini)

Russia’s President Putin is urging talks on statehood for southeastern Ukraine. He says talks between separatist rebels and Kiev should begin right away.

Putin’s remarks follow a public appearance in which he compared the Kiev government with Nazis and warned the West not to “mess with us.” CCTV America’s Kate Parkinson reports from Donetsk.

Putin urges 'statehood' for southeastern Ukraine

Putin urges 'statehood' for southeastern Ukraine

Russia's President Putin urges talks on statehood for southeastern Ukraine. He says talks between separatist rebels and Kiev should begin right away.

Follow Kate Parkinson on Twitter @katecctvnews

Putin’s use of the word “statehood” was interpreted in Western media as implying backing for the rebel demand of independence, something Moscow has so far stopped short of publicly endorsing. However, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said there was no new endorsement from Moscow for rebel independence.

Moscow has long called for Kiev to hold direct political talks with the rebels. Kiev said it is willing to have talks on more rights for the south and east, but will not talk directly to armed fighters it describes as “international terrorists” and Russian puppets that can only be reined in by Moscow.

Mariupol is bracing for an attack, with pro-Russian rebels just 45 kilometers (28 miles) away. Residents have dig trenches, and locals joined battalions and are getting weapons training. Many have fled the city, but those who stayed seemed determined to resist an attack.

There has been no sign thus far of rebels advancing on the port city, but a Ukrainian military spokesperson said the separatists fired on a Ukrainian vessel in the Azov Sea on Sunday. It’s the first naval attack of the four-month conflict.

The spokesperson also said a rescue operation was under way after the artillery attack from the shore.

Pro-Russian fighters are now firmly in control of Ilovaisk, a small town about 50 kilometers east of the rebel stronghold Donetsk.

Kate Parkinson went to Ilovaisk, and has this report on what the people there are facing.

MORE UKRAINE COVERAGE ON CCTV AMERICA.

Small town near Donetsk feels wounds of battle

Small town near Donetsk feels wounds of battle

Pro-Russian fighters are now firmly in control of Ilovaisk, a small town about 50 kilometers east of the rebel stronghold Donetsk. CCTV's Kate Parkinson went to Ilovaisk, and has this report on what the people there are facing.

For more on the latest developments in Ukraine, law professor Edwin Smith joined CCTV America.

Are the talks in Minsk going to help Ukraine?

Are the talks in Minsk going to help Ukraine?

For more on the latest developments in Ukraine, law professor Edwin Smith joined CCTV America.