Putin: Ukraine Should Pull Troops ... From Ukraine
Russian leader says Kiev should withdraw forces from disputed border cities
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2014 3:31 PM CDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's Kremlin today.   (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
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(Newser) – Vladimir Putin floated a simple idea today to stop the violence in southeastern Ukraine: Ukraine should just give up. In a phone call with Germany's Angela Merkel, Putin said Kiev should withdraw its troops from the areas being overrun by pro-Moscow militias, reports the New York Times. That "would effectively cede control to the pro-Russian forces that have taken over about a dozen cities in the border area and are pushing for a referendum on its status," observes the Wall Street Journal. (Not that Ukraine's forces have been all that effective anyway.)

“Putin emphasized that it was imperative today to withdraw all military units from the southeastern regions, stop the violence, and immediately launch a broad national dialogue as part of the constitutional reform process involving all regions and political forces,” said the Russian news agency Interfax. Kiev doesn't appear swayed. Hours after Putin's suggestion, Ukraine's acting president ordered the reinstatement of the nation's military draft for men ages 18 to 25, reports AP. He cited "threats of encroachment on the nation's territorial integrity" and accused Russia of interfering in its internal affairs.