Putin blames Kiev for refusing talks with eastern separatists -agency

MOSCOW, Sept 1 Mon Sep 1, 2014 3:16am EDT

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MOSCOW, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Kiev's leadership on Monday for refusing to enter into direct political talks with eastern Ukrainian separatists, who he said were pushing government troops away from their current positions.

"The current Kiev leadership does not want to carry out a substantive political dialogue with the east of its country," state news agency Itar-Tass cited Putin as telling journalists.

He also said pro-Russian separatists, who Kiev and the West say are being aided by Russia's military, were trying to push Ukrainian troops away form their current positions where he said they were firing on civilian targets.

"The aim of the militia fighters is to push away these armed forces and their artillery to not give them the possibility to shoot on residential areas," said Putin.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt, Writing by Thomas Grove)

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