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Russia calls on Ukraine to be a federal state

Associated Press
Pro-Russian people celebrate in the central square in Sevastopol, Ukraine, late Sunday, March 16, 2014. Russian flags fluttered above jubilant crowds Sunday after residents in Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. The United States and Europe condemned the ballot as illegal and destabilizing and were expected to slap sanctions against Russia for it.(AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)
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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's foreign ministry is calling on Ukraine to become a federal state and call fresh elections.

In a statement posted on Monday the ministry urged Ukraine's parliament to call a constitutional assembly which could draft a new constitution to make the country federal, handing more power to its regions.

The foreign ministry said the proposals are part of its efforts to ease the tensions in Ukraine by diplomatic means.

Moscow insisted that Ukrainian regions should get broader autonomy and that the country should adopt a "neutral political and military status."

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