Putin calls on Ukraine to start 'statehood' talks

Posted: September 1, 2014 at 3:23 a.m.

A Pro-Russian rebel prepares arms for the the assault on the positions of Ukrainian army in Donetsk airport, eastern Ukraine, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday called on Ukraine to immediately start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Hours later, Ukraine said a border guard vessel operating in the Azov Sea was attacked by land-based forces. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov)

MOSCOW -- President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Sunday called on Ukraine to begin talks on "the statehood" of that country's rebellious southeast, a vague and provocative turn of phrase used by Putin as he demanded that the Ukrainian government negotiate directly with pro-Russia separatists.

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