published Friday, April 11th, 2014

Ukraine PM: regions should have more powers

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine's prime minister has told leaders in the country's restive east that he is committed to allowing regions to have more powers.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk met Friday with officials in Donetsk, where pro-Russian separatists are occupying the regional administration building and calling for a referendum that could prefigure seeking annexation by Russia.

Donetsk and other cities in Ukraine's eastern industrial heartland were the support base for Kremlin-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych, who was ousted in February after months of protests. Last month, the Crimea region voted to secede and was annexed by Russia.

Yatsenyuk told the meeting, which did not include representatives of the separatists, that more authority should be delegated to regional authorities. But it was unclear how much authority he envisioned, or whether it would be likely to mollify separatists.

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