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April 20, 2014

Ukraine PM: New Soviet Union Would Be "Disaster"

Ukraine's prime minister says Russian President Vladimir Putin may be trying to restore the Soviet Union with the recent annexation of Crimea and pro-Russian unrest in eastern Ukraine.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk spoke to NBC television's "Meet the Press" by video link from Ukraine. In the interview, broadcast Sunday, he expressed concern about what he said he believes is Mr. Putin's ultimate goal.



Earlier, Russia said it is "outraged" by a deadly shootout in eastern Ukraine that breached an Easter truce. Ukrainian officials say details of the incident are not clear.

Officials say a shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists has left at least two people dead near the town of Slavyansk, which is under the control of pro-Russian militants.

Russia said it is "outraged by this provocation by the fighters," and the attack proves there is a "lack of desire by the Kyiv authorities to rein in and disarm nationalists and extremists."

But a Ukrainian group blamed for the attack denies any involvement, and accuses Russian special forces for being behind the incident.



The attack came just hours after the Ukrainian government announced a pause in security operations to oust pro-Russian militants from buildings they have seized in recent days.

Foreign Minister Andrii Deshchytsia linked the suspension to the Easter holiday, and said the pause would give European monitors more time to organize a special mission aimed at de-escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine.

Pro-Russian gunmen have seized Ukrainian government buildings in nearly a dozen eastern cities and say they will not surrender until the interim Ukraine government in Kyiv steps down.