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Ukrainian president lifts objections to referendum on state structure

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By Seamus Kearney
Ukrainian president lifts objections to referendum on state structure

<p>The Ukrainian President says he is ready to hold a referendum on the future structure of the state, apparently lifting earlier objections.</p> <p>But Petro Poroshenko has told a constitutional reform committee that he is still opposed to the idea of federalisation, as advocated by Russia. </p> <p>“For those who want to talk about federalisation we have an instrument called a referendum,” he said. “And I’m ready to launch a referendum on Ukraine’s state structure if you think this is necessary.”</p> <p>Poroshenko says although decentralisation is being talked about, Ukraine will remain what he calls a “unitary state”. </p> <p>The Ukrainian Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, said: “A new constitution must consult the interests of the entire state – from west to east. </p> <p>“And if we’re talking about our dialogue with the east, we’re ready to conduct the dialogue only with legally elected representatives of the east, not with Russian criminals and terrorists.”</p> <p>Kyiv says any decentralisation of powers to the eastern regions, where Russian-backed separatists have been fighting government troops, would not include security, defence or foreign policy. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Poroshenko ready for referendum on Ukraine's state system <a href="http://t.co/ge2uJcu3VS">http://t.co/ge2uJcu3VS</a> <a href="http://t.co/VOwJeFNeln">pic.twitter.com/VOwJeFNeln</a></p>— Ukrainian News (@24todayneteng) <a href="https://twitter.com/24todayneteng/status/585023027148107777">April 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Poroshenko agrees to a referendum, potentially giving autonomy to eastern Ukraine: <a href="http://t.co/UEFunWSERV">http://t.co/UEFunWSERV</a>.</p>— Preventive Action (@CFR_CPA) <a href="https://twitter.com/CFR_CPA/status/585107232284680194">April 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Poroshenko raises decentralisation referendum but rebels reject: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Mond… <a href="http://t.co/xgPyeHLkg6">http://t.co/xgPyeHLkg6</a></p>— Balagopal Hegde (@BalagopalHegd) <a href="https://twitter.com/BalagopalHegd/status/585120096680419328">April 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Poroshenko raises decentralisation referendum but rebels reject <a href="http://t.co/cnrgtnhiEx">http://t.co/cnrgtnhiEx</a></p>— The Guardian Nigeria (@NGRGUARDIANNEWS) <a href="https://twitter.com/NGRGUARDIANNEWS/status/585125872740368385">April 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>