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Ukraine prime minister pledges talks with eastern regions

Monday - 5/12/2014, 5:20pm  ET

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's acting prime minister is promising to hold talks with eastern regions of the country -- as pro-Russia insurgents in two of those regions declare independence in an effort to join Russia.

But the Ukrainian official is giving no specifics of possible talks, and he's not addressing the results of yesterday's votes in the two regions. Organizers say voters were overwhelmingly in favor of sovereignty.

The White House says the United States does not recognize the results of the balloting -- and that it's "disappointing" that Russia did not use its influence to stop the vote from happening.

Russia, meanwhile, is indicating that it doesn't intend to annex eastern Ukraine the way it annexed Crimea in March. Instead, Russia is pushing to include eastern regions in negotiations on Ukraine's future. It suggests that Russia prefers a political rather than a military solution to its worst standoff with the West since the Cold War.

National presidential elections are scheduled for May 25th in Ukraine.

%@AP Links

176-a-06-(Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, at briefing)-"in the country"-State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki says the U.S. doesn't recognize the weekend referendum in eastern Ukraine. (12 May 2014)

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177-a-11-(Jen Psaki, State Department spokeswoman, at briefing)-"Moscow and St. Petersburg"-State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki says there are a lot of signs the referendum wasn't legitimate. (12 May 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ125: People watch fireworks celebrating the declaration of independence for Donetsk region at barricades in front of a regional administration building that was recently seized by pro-Russian activists in Donetsk, Ukraine, Monday, May 12, 2014, with a Russian national flag in the background. Pro-Moscow insurgents in eastern Ukraine declared independence Monday, putting pressure on Kiev to hold talks with the separatists. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko) (12 May 2014)

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APPHOTO XAZ121: Pro-Russian protesters listen to a guitar player whilst celebrating their declaring independence for the Luhansk region in eastern Ukraine 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) (12 May 2014)

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