DONETSK, Ukraine — Dashing hopes of progress raised by a diplomatic deal in Geneva, pro-Russian insurgents who have occupied government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities said Friday that they will not leave them until the country's interim government resigns.
Denis Pushilin of the self-appointed Donetsk People's Republic told reporters the insurgents do not recognize the Ukrainian government as legitimate.
Ukraine and Russia on Thursday agreed in Geneva to take tentative steps toward calming tensions along their shared border after weeks of conflict since Ukraine's former leader fled to Russia in February and Russia annexed Crimea in March. The deal calls for disarming all paramilitary groups and the immediate return of all government buildings seized across the country.
But Pushilin, speaking at the insurgent-occupied regional headquarters in the eastern city of Donetsk, said the deal specifies that all illegally seized buildings should be vacated. He said Ukraine's new interim government in the capital, Kiev, is also occupying public buildings illegally.
Ukraine has scheduled a presidential election for May 25, but Pushilin reiterated a call to hold a referendum on self-determination for the Donetsk region by May 11.
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