EU says wants to see if Putin acts on Ukraine withdrawal

BRUSSELS Thu May 8, 2014 6:43am EDT

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union said on Thursday it was watching developments in Ukraine closely to see if Russian President Vladimir Putin would act after he said he was pulling Russian troops from Ukraine's borders.

"We take good note of President Putin's remarks on ... the issue of Ukrainian presidential elections on May 25, on his call to postpone a local referendum in the eastern part of Ukraine as well as his announcement on the recall of Russian troops from the borders of Ukraine," EU foreign policy spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.

"This is a step which can help de-escalate the situation and of course we will follow developments on the ground very closely to see whether words are followed by deeds, by action," she said, adding that an independence referendum planned by pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine "would have no democratic legitimacy and could only further worsen the situation."

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek)

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