May 17, 2014 - 20:53 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Lawmakers and officials from eastern Ukraine on Saturday, May 17 poured criticism on the fledging central government, accusing it of ignoring legitimate grievances of the regions which have been overrun by pro-Russia activists fighting for independence, the Associated Press reported.
One eastern leader said last weekend's unofficial referendum in favor of independence "expressed the will of the people."
The criticism came in the second round of European-brokered talks intended to resolve the country's worst crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Politicians from the east implored the government to believe that — apart from the pro-Russia activists— a large sector of the population had lost hope in the interim administration in Kyiv.
The second round of talks followed hours after sustained gunfire heard throughout the night near the eastern city of Slovyansk, the stronghold of pro-Russia activists, after forces loyal to the Kyiv government moved in to protect a television tower.
Activists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions held hastily arranged referenda last weekend and declared independence following the vote, which went in favor of sovereignty.
The round-table talks in the eastern city of Kharkiv did not feature any of the activists, whom Kyiv describes as terrorists. The activists say they are willing to discuss only the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops and the recognition of the independence of the regions.