3. Separatists seek independence from Ukraine
A pro-Russian separatist leader says he and his comrades have vowed to seek independence of the eastern regions from Ukraine.
Denys Pushylin, separatist leader in the Donetsk region, said at a news conference in Moscow on Wednesday that the eastern regions will no longer remain in Ukraine, as many residents there were killed in fighting.
He spoke after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko held their first one-on-one talks in Minsk, Belarus, on the previous day.
The 2 presidents agreed to continue talks, but apparently failed to narrow their differences over the conflict in Ukraine.
Pushylin said Ukraine's government in Kiev is expected to pursue its military offensive against the separatists even after it agreed with Russia to continue talks.
The separatists currently have 2 secessionist organizations in the eastern regions. They say the 2 organizations will be united into one, called Novorossia, meaning New Russia, in their bid to establish an independent state.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday urged the Ukrainian government to hold dialogue with the separatists at an early date.
But no sign of an end to the conflict in eastern Ukraine is visible.