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Russia's Putin calls for 'statehood' for eastern, southern Ukraine Updated: 2014-09-01 06:36:08 KST

Time now for a look through the international headlines we're following this Monday morning. For that, we'll turn to our Eunice Kim, standing by at the NewsCenter. Good morning, Eunice. (Good morning, Mark.) Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the "STATEHOOD" of eastern and southern Ukraine, "to protect the legitimate interests of the people living there". What exactly does that mean?

That's the question analysts are asking as well.
When that interview of President Putin calling for "statehood" for separatist-held territory in Ukraineran on Russian TV Sunday initially, some in the Western media questioned whether it was Moscow finally coming out to publicly support the pro-Russian rebels fighting for autonomy.
But President Putin's spokesman later insisted that the comments did NOT amount to such an endorsement adding that only *Kiev can reach an agreement with the separatists.
President Putin though while calling on Kiev to launch "substantive and meaningful" talks immediately also warned that Russia - as a state - cannot stand aside and do nothing while relatives and friends are being shot at by Ukrainian forces.
He reminded the West that Russia is a strong nuclear power, and that "it's best not to mess with us" - to borrow his words.//
Kiev has said it *is open for talks to give the territories more say in the way they are run but refused to negotiate with the armed fighters they call "international terrorists" backed by Moscow.
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