Putin warns Kiev against irreversible mistakes

Putin warns Kiev against irreversible mistakes
# 09 April 2014 22:23 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Wednesday a positive outcome to the first international peace talks on Ukraine but also upped the pressure by warning Kiev's interim leaders against making any irreversible mistakes, APA reports quoting AFP.

The veteran strongman's mixed message came as Kalashnikov-wielding separatists barricaded inside state offices in the Russified east of Ukraine remained locked in a standoff that the country's police chief said should be resolved within 48 hours but may require the use of force.

A seeming breakthrough in the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War era emerged Tuesday when US and EU diplomats managed to convince both Moscow and Kiev to come together for four-way negotiations that one source in Brussels said should be held in Vienna on April 17.

At stake are not only the vast ex-Soviet state's territorial integrity and political future but also the fate of the West's relations with Moscow and all the repercussions this carries for global security in the coming years.

Putin signalled that he expected the talks to follow his idea of turning Ukraine into a loose federation whose eastern regions could establish their own diplomatic and trade relations with Russia -- a proposal rejected by Kiev outright.

"I hope that the initiative of Russian foreign ministry on adjusting the situation and changing it for the better will have consequences, and that the outcome will be positive," Putin told a televised government meeting.

"At the very least, I hope that the acting (leaders) will not do anything that cannot be fixed later," Putin added without specifying what kind of mistakes he had in mind.

But a top US official said Washington was not setting the bar too high for the negotiations even if it did welcome the opportunity to have direct talks.

"I have to say that we don't have high expectations for these talks but we do believe it is very important to keep that diplomatic door open and will see what they bring," US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said in Washington.

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