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Ukraine's premier said on Tuesday that Kiev did not trust Russia enough to open direct negotiations aimed at ending a deadly insurgency in the separatist east of the ex-Soviet country.
“In current conditions, bilateral negotiations without the presence of the United States and the European Union are impossible,” Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told a cabinet meeting a day after pro-Western billionaire Petro Poroshenko was confirmed as the winner of Ukraine's presidential election.
“If you sit down at the table with them alone, they will definitely cheat you,” Yatsenyuk said in televised remarks.
Poroshenko had said on Monday that he would welcome a chance to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and that such talks could be arrange by the middle of next month.
Yatsenyuk became prime minister following the February ouster in Kiev of a Russian-backed president and his leadership has never been recognised as legitimate by Moscow.
The two neighbours held talks under EU and US mediation in Geneva in April that produced an agreement to try to end the rebellion but whose terms were broken by both Russia and Ukraine within days. - Sapa-AFP