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Ukraine never to become a federation

3 February 2015 23:22

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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says Ukraine will never turn into a federation.

“Ukraine will never be a federation, it will remain a unitary state,” Poroshenko told reporters in the northeastern city of Kharkiv on Tuesday.

He also claimed that 85% of Ukrainians are against adopting the federal system of government, saying he is ready to “to put this matter for a referendum” to substantiate his claim.

Poroshenko made the comments as fierce clashes between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russia forces have flared up in recent weeks.

UN slams clashes

Earlier in the day, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights slammed the escalation of violence in eastern Ukraine, calling on both sides to stop targeting civilians.

“Bus stops and public transport, marketplaces, schools and kindergartens, hospitals and residential areas have become battlegrounds in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine — in clear breach of humanitarian law that governs the conduct of armed conflicts,” said Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

“The protection of civilians by all parties to the conflict must be of the utmost priority,” he stated, adding, “Any further escalation will prove catastrophic for the 5.2 million people living in the midst of conflict in eastern Ukraine.”

Source of conflict

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine have been the scene of deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev’s military operation started in April 2014 in a bid to crush the protests.

Violence intensified in May 2014 after the two flashpoint regions held local referendums in which their residents voted overwhelmingly in favor of independence from Ukraine and joining the Russian Federation.

The fighting has left more than 5,300 people dead and over 12,200 wounded, the United Nations says.

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