U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) isn’t optimistic about potential talks in Ukraine with pro-Russia separatists. After two regions of eastern Ukraine voted to separate from the country, Russia has asked for Ukraine to open a dialogue with the groups that supported independence or joining the Russian Federation. Durbin doesn’t believe that means Russian President Vladimir Putin is backing away from potentially annexing those areas.
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“What Putin is doing in the Ukraine is outrageous,” Durbin said. “He is extending the reach of his dream of a Russian empire. He has now invaded a neutral country, a separate country—Ukraine—and is claiming territory, first Crimea, and now Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.” After a similar separation referendum was held in Crimea in March, Putin quickly annexed the region. Both the U.S. and Ukraine have called the votes illegal.
U.S. Sen. Mark S. Kirk (R-Ill.) is more optimistic, saying that Putin pulling back Russian troops from the border may be a sign that he has “blinked.”