President Vladimir Putin has called on the government of Ukraine to begin negotiations on the issues of statehood for the southeast of Ukraine. Putin said this during an interview on the program Voskresnoye Vremya [Sunday Time] on state TV's Channel 1, TV Rain reported.
Interfax quoted Putin as follows (translation by The Interpreter):
"We must immediately get down to a substantial, substantive negotiations, and not on technical questions, but on the questions of the political organization of society and statehood in the south-east of Ukraine with the purpose of unconditional provision of the lawful interests of people who live there."
The word Putin used in Russian is gosudarstvennost' which means literally "statehood" but can also mean "state system" or "state organization," i.e. form of government.
It is not clear how Putin envisions the "Novorossiya" entity, but given a presentation by his aide Sergei Glazyev yesterday at a conference in Yalta attended by Russian-backed separatists and European far-right party figures, there is a notion to make the amalgamated "Donetsk People's Republic" and "Lugansk People's Republic" a member of the Customs Union of which Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are members.