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Russian ambassador on Ukraine: 'If my grandma had a beard, she would have been my grandpa'

Maxim Peshkov said that his country has received no calls from eastern regions to allow them to join the Russian Fedration.

Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A RECENTLY STALLED deal aimed to ending tensions in Ukraine was the best chance at reaching the “main goal” of stability in Ukraine”, the Russian ambassador to Ireland has said.

However, he warned against external forces being involved excessively in the situation.

“The problems that exist in Ukraine should be solved by Ukrainians,” Maxim Peshkov told RTÉ’s This Week programme.

He refused to be drawn on whether his country would be ready to accept some parts of the region into the Russia Federation:

We have a joke in the Russian langauge – if my grandma had a beard, she would have been my grandpa.

“We don’t hear any word from eastern or southern Ukraine that one part of the country wants to separate from the motherland and to go elsewhere,” Peshko added, highlighting that the militants demands have been for wider autonomy.

When questioned on rebels seen bearing Russia flags, he said the viewpoint from Russia is that some have been seen with European flags.

Peshkov stressed that no Russia forces have been involved in any of the fighting – either in Crimea or eastern Ukrainian cities like Donetsk.

Peacekeepers

Pro-Moscow separatists controlling the town of Slavyansk have called for Russian peacekeepers to deploy and announced a curfew after a gun battle nearby that killed at least two of their militants.

Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, the rebel leader in the town, told reporters he had made an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin “to study the possibility of sending peacekeepers to defend the population against the fascists” — the term Moscow and the separatists use to designate Ukraine’s new government and its supporters.

He also announced a curfew for the town of 130,000 people, during which it would be forbidden to be out in the streets.

Additional reporting © – AFP, 2014

Read: Four militants dead in Ukrainian night fight despite ‘Easter truce’ >

Previously: Russian Ambassador asks why the EU accepts “Nazi” elements in Ukraine >

Agreed: Ukraine, Russia, the US and EU have reached a surprise deal in Geneva >

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Nicky Ryan

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