CHELYABINSK, Russia Aug 31 President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Sunday that areas of eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Kiev government forces should remain part of the country and he called the conflict a domestic one.
Dmitry Peskov was speaking after Putin was quoted by Russian media as calling for meaningful talks between the separatists and Kiev on issues including "society's political organisation and statehood in southeastern Ukraine to protect legitimate interests of people living there".
"This is not a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this is a domestic Ukrainian conflict," Peskov told reporters. Asked if "Novorossiya" - the name the rebels give to the region in dispute - should remain part of Ukraine, he said: "Of course."
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Mark Heinrich)