After meeting in Moscow with Swiss President Didier Burkhalter, who is also chairman of the OSCE, Russian President Vladimir Putin today called for the planned May 11 referendum on autonomy in southeast Ukraine to be postponed.
“We are calling on representatives of regions in southeastern Ukraine, supporters of federalization in the country, to postpone the referendum set for May 11 in order to create all necessary conditions for this dialogue,” Putin said. He added: “We’re always being told that our forces on the Ukrainian border are a concern. We have withdrawn them. Today they are not on the Ukrainian border, they are in places where they conduct their regular tasks on training grounds.”
Putin also called on Ukraine’s military to halt all repressive operations against pro-federalization activists in eastern Ukraine, and for the scheduled May 25 national presidential elections to proceed only after constitutional reforms are adopted—the standing Russian policy. These last two points have been repeatedly rejected by the Kiev government, and their controllers in Washington in London. In fact, Ukraine’s illegitimate Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, hand-picked and placed in office by State Department operative Victoria Nuland, promptly dismissed Putin’s proposal as “hot air.”
With Ukraine careening towards civil war conditions, Putin’s proffer continues his attempt to avoid provocations and other traps laid for him by the British Empire’s drive for thermonuclear world war, while refusing to capitulate to that Empire’s blackmail demands. Putin is also attempting to work with factions in Europe, in particular, in the German government, which also wants a negotiated solution—including his dialogue with former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder which led to the freeing of the captured European observers in eastern Ukraine. Burkhalter announced that the OSCE would now develop a roadmap for the discussions to proceed.
The Guardian reported that “pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region said they would consider Putin’s call to postpone the regional referendum at a meeting of their assembly tomorrow. Denis Pushilin, a leader of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, said: ‘We have the utmost respect for President Putin. If he considers that necessary, we will of course discuss it.’ ” Pushilin elaborated that “The referendum will definitely take place before the presidential election on May 25 no matter what. We do not want to legitimize the illegal government in Kiev.”