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Ukraine President Says No Objection To Vote On Regional Power

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on April 6 that he does not object to a referendum on giving more powers to restive regions in eastern Ukraine.

When the conflict between Russian-backed separatist rebels and government troops began last year, protesters in the east demanded a vote on giving their regions more autonomy.

Such calls were rejected by the Ukrainian government at the time.

However, after meeting a parliamentary commission that is drafting amendments to the constitution, Poroshenko said that, if the commission decides such a vote is necessary, he would not stand in the way of a referendum.

The president said he still opposed the idea of federalization, which Russia has advocated, but he is in favor of decentralizing power in favor of the regions.

Poroshenko pointed out that decision-making on security, defense, and foreign policy would remain in the hands of the central government.

Poroshenko also said he was against making Russian a second official language, saying "Ukrainian has been and will be our only state language."

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax