Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

WORLD [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

UKRAINE BEGINS TALKS WITHOUT INSURGENTS

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine's government launched talks today on decentralizing power as part of a European-backed peace plan but didn't invite its main foes, the pro-Russia insurgents who have declared independence in the east.

That deliberate oversight left it unclear whether the negotiations might help cool the tensions in the east.

In his opening remarks, acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said authorities were "ready for a dialogue" but insisted they will not talk to the pro-Russia gunmen who have seized buildings and fought government troops across eastern Ukraine.

"Let's have a dialogue, let's discuss specific proposals," Mr. Turchynov said, "But those armed people who are trying to wage a war on their own country, those who are with arms in their hands trying to dictate their will, or rather the will of another country, we will use legal procedures against them and they will face justice."

Insurgents in the east shrugged off the round-table talks as meaningless.

"We haven't received any offers to join a round table and dialogue," Denis Pushilin, an insurgent leader in Donetsk. "If the authorities in Kiev want a dialogue, they must come here. If we go to Kiev, they will arrest us."

The European road map aims to halt fighting between government forces and pro-Russia separatists in the east and de-escalate tensions ahead of Ukraine's May 25 presidential vote. It calls on all sides to refrain from violence, offers an amnesty for those involved in the unrest and urges talks on decentralization and the status of the Russian language.

Dozens have died in the scattershot fighting across the east. On Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said six soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a rebel ambush near the city of Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region - the deadliest attack on the Ukrainian military since the offensive began last month.

Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval claimed that the insurgents were being aided by Russian servicemen.

NIGERIANS FIGHT BACK AGAINST MILITANTS

BAUCHI, Nigeria - Villagers in an area of Nigeria where Boko Haram operates have killed and detained scores of the extremist Islamic militants who were suspected of planning a fresh attack, the residents and a security official said.

Residents in Nigeria's northern states have been forming vigilante groups in various areas to resist the militants who have held more than 270 schoolgirls captive since last month.

In Kalabalge, a village about 155 miles from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, residents said they were taking matters into their own hands because the Nigerian military is not doing enough to stem Boko Haram attacks.

On Tuesday morning, after learning about an impending attack by militants, locals ambushed two trucks with gunmen, a security official said. …

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