Russia uses poll results to push talk

Posted: May 13, 2014 at 5:46 a.m.

Pro-Russian gunmen and activists react while listening to a speaker as they declare independence for the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine on Monday, May 12, 2014. Pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine declared independence Monday for the Donetsk and Luhansk regions following their contentious referendum ballot. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

MOSCOW -- The Russian government Monday stopped short of outright recognition of the contentious referendums carried out by separatists in two Russian-speaking provinces of southeastern Ukraine, instead using the results to intensify pressure for negotiated autonomy for those provinces.

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