Ukraine Holds OSCE Power-Sharing Talks With Regional Leaders

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The Ukrainian government on Wednesday sat down with regional officials for talks which could see Kiev relinquish some of its powers in an attempt to resolve the country's crisis.

The Western-backed Kiev administration has reluctantly agreed to discuss a set of proposals drafted by transatlantic security and rights group the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Russia has strongly backed the plans, which would see Ukraine's regions gain more power, but reaction to the plan from Ukraine and the U.S. has been muted.

Speaking in Brussels on Tuesday, Yatsenyuk thanked the OSCE for its plan but said Ukraine has its own plan for ending the crisis, according to a report of the speech by The Associated Press. He offered no further details of his plan other than to say it should be left to the Ukrainian people to settle the crisis.

The OSCE is calling on all sides to refrain from violence and urges amnesty for those involved in the unrest, the AP said. It also urges further talks on decentralization and the status of the Russian language.

Pro-Russian separatists who have occupied towns and cities across the east of the country and are demanding to be absorbed into Russia were not due to attend the talks on Wednesday.

Ukraine said it would enter into talks with the separatists, but not those with "blood on their hands." This stipulation is likely to be a stumbling block, coming a day after a firefight between separatist militants near Kramatorsk in which six Ukrainian soldiers were killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

- Alexander Smith