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Pro-Russian Separatists Seize Donetsk Prosecutor's Office After Russian FM Calls for Dialogue in Ukraine

Ukraine has restored military conscription just hours after Russia's foreign minister called for talks between Kyiv and pro-Russian separatists in southeastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's acting president, Oleksandr Turchynov, signed a decree Thursday on improving the country's defense capabilities.

Citing what it describes as "the further aggravation of the socio-politcal situation" in eastern and southern Ukraine, as well as "blatant aggression" by "illegal" armed pro-Russian groups, the decree reinstates the draft for non-exempt Ukrainian men between 18 and 25 years old.

The move comes a day after Mr. Turchynov said that his government was "helpless" to quell the growing pro-Russian separatist movement in two eastern regions and could not control its own troops.

Earlier Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow thinks a "dialogue" could be established between Ukraine's government and it opponents.



"We hope that our partners, our Western colleagues allow Ukrainians to establish this dialogue without major impediment.''



The Russian foreign minister spoke during a visit to Peru.

Still, the tensions between Ukraine's government and pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country continue to escalate.

Pro-Russian demonstrators on Thursday occupied the prosecutor's office in the eastern Ukrainian industrial hub of Donetsk. On Wednesday, pro-Russian gunmen seized control of a city council building in Horlivka, a city of 290,000 residents north of Donetsk.

Separatists now control about a dozen cities in Ukraine's industrial east, including Donetsk, where rebels have set a referendum on secession for May 11.

A similar vote last month led to Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund slashed Russia's growth forecast for 2014 from 1.3 percent to 0.2 percent. The IMF says its decision took into account "the significant level of uncertainty" related to geopolitical tensions and sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis.

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