Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Stop this mess': new PM

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KYIV, Ukraine -- In his first interview since taking office, Ukraine's new prime minister vigorously defended the legality of his government against attacks coming from Russia, but said Wednesday Ukraine would be willing to consider granting more autonomy to the Crimea region to assuage the concerns of the province's pro-Russian population.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk denied reports Ukraine is seeking military assistance from the United States.

Asked if he was afraid Russia might send troops to occupy other Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine, Yatsenyuk said: "Let me put it bluntly: Yes, it's still a concern, and Russia is to realize its responsibility, and Russia is to stick to its international obligation, to stop the invasion. Mr. President (Vladimir Putin), stop this mess," said Yatsenyuk.

The prime minister also denied a report cash-strapped Ukraine was negotiating with the United States for deployment of U.S. missile defences in exchange for financial help.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 6, 2014 A11

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