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Tymoshenko says crisis in Donetsk can be resolved peacefully

The crisis in Donetsk can be resolved peacefully, former Prime Minister and Batkivshchina (Fatherland) party leader Yulia Tymoshenko said at a press conference in this eastern Ukrainian city on Monday, April 7.

"Everyone I talked with in Donetsk said they wanted to live in peace and they only wanted the Donbass [a historical, economic and cultural region of eastern Ukraine, a coal mining area since late 19th century] to be respected," Tymoshenko said.

"There is complete readiness to eliminate these pockets of instability promptly in a peaceful and legitimate manner," she added.

Tymoshenko believes it necessary to carry out administrative reform, elect the regional authorities and preserve the law on regional languages. "This will satisfy some of the demands put forth by people in the Donbass," she said.

After the press conference, Tymoshenko headed to another eastern city of Luhansk.

Donetsk demands

Demonstrators in Donetsk, who seized the regional administration building on Sunday, April 6, formed a Donetsk republic people's council which declared "state autonomy of the Donetsk People's Republic".

The republic "will build relations in accordance with international law and on an equal and mutually advantageous basis. The territory within the recognised borders is indivisible and inviolable," the council said in the declaration.

"The people of the Donetsk people's republic have an exclusive right of ownership to land, its subsoil resources, airspace, water and other natural resources within the republic's borders. The republic will independently determine its economic status, carry out a financial, credit and investment policy, form its own state budget, and determine the procedure for establishing currency and other funds. The republic has a right to ban construction and stop the operation of any enterprise or institution or other facilities that endanger environmental security. The declaration will be in force from the day of adoption and will provide the basis for adopting a constitution of the Donetsk People's Republic," the document said.

The Donetsk people's council also decided to hold a referendum on the status of the self-proclaimed republic no later than May 11.

In an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the council said in particular, "All these months Donbass residents have been trying to express their protest. We are appealing to Putin as only Russia can give us protection".

"In the event of aggressive actions on the part of the Kiev authorities, we will ask the Russian Federation to deploy a temporary peacekeeping contingent in order to ensure the security of people in the Donetsk region," the council said.

Meanwhile, a draft resolution introducing a state of emergency in the Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv regions has been registered in the Ukrainian parliament.

The draft is being considered by the parliament leadership pending a plenary session scheduled for April 8.

The Kiev-appointed governor of the Donetsk region, Sergei Taruta, said the latest events in the eastern regions of Ukraine aimed to divide the country.

"The decisions made by the people who have seized government institutions [in Donetsk] are unlawful. A legitimate solution must be found by the incumbent Regional Council," Taruta said in a statement.

He urged the protesters to leave the session room. "In order to avoid the use of force, further dialogue should be conducted on a legal basis only," he said.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 07Apr14]

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