Putin urges Obama to help prevent bloodshed in Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin urged on Monday his US counterpart Barack Obama to use all available leverage to prevent the looming bloodshed in Ukraine, the Kremlin said. Putin and Obama discussed in a phone conversation various aspects of the current Ukrainian crisis in light of the recent escalation of tensions in southern and eastern regions of the country.

“Putin has urged Barack Obama to use to the full extend the means available to the US in order to prevent violence and bloodshed [in Ukraine],” the Kremlin said in a statement. “In response to US concerns over Russia’s alleged involvement in south-eastern Ukraine, the Russian president stressed that these allegations are based on false reports,” the statement said.

The two sides agreed to continue efforts aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to the current stalemate prior to the upcoming four-party meeting (the EU, Russia, the US and Ukraine) in Geneva slated for April 17. Ukraine faced a regime change in February when the countrya’s parliament backed by far-right movements ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, amended the constitution and scheduled early presidential elections for May 25.

Moscow has described the events in Kiev as an illegitimate fascist coup and a military seizure of power. A number of Ukrainea’s southern and eastern regions refused to accept the legitimacy of current Kiev authorities. On March 16 Crimea held a referendum which saw over 96 percent of citizens vote in favor of joining Russia.

Following the vote Crimea declared independence from Ukraine and after a treaty signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin it was officially declared part of Russia. Since March tensions have been running high in the southeastern parts of Ukraine. Pro-federalization protesters refusing to accept the new interim government are calling for a referendum on the status of their respective regions within the country.

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