April 18 - Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they are not bound by an internally-brokered agreement ordering them to disarm and end their occupation. Mana Rabiee reports.
The armed standoff in eastern Ukraine continues. This, despite an internationally-brokered agreement. It orders pro-Russian separatists holed up across some ten cities and towns to lay down their arms and end their occupation. Many, if not all, of the separatists dismissed the accord. They consider the newly-formed central government illegal, the product of a coup that ousted a Moscow-backed president. In Donetsk, the self declared leader of the separatists here, Denis Pushilin, says his men won't leave until the west-leaning government in the capital steps down. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HEAD OF THE SELF-DECLARED "DONETSK PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC" DENIS PUSHILIN, SAYING: "Everyone has to leave the buildings, including comrades Yatseniuk and Turchinov who also, let's say, as an illegal result of a military coup, came and occupied their place. After they leave, we will also agree to leave." On Friday, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk promised to give amnesty to the separatists if they back down. But he emphasized that Crimea, the eastern peninsula that voted to cede from Ukraine last month and was annexed by Russia, is still rightfully Ukraine's (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) ARSENY YATSENIUK, PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE, SAYING: "Modern Ukrainian history will write that those who have been capturing Crimea will apologize to the Ukrainian nation. And Crimea was, is, and will be Ukrainian. It's our land, our territory and we will fight for it." Yatseniuk also pledged to make concessions to the separatists, like using the Russian language in public life and decentralizing more power to local councils. But the separatists appear to be staying put. And it's unclear that either side would be willing to move first.