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Published: Tuesday April 8, 2014 MYT 1:36:44 PM
Updated: Tuesday April 8, 2014 MYT 1:38:04 PM

Russia calls on Kiev to halt military preparations in Ukraine's southeast

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on Kiev's authorities to stop massing military forces it said were tasked with suppressing anti-government protests in southeastern Ukraine.

"We call for an immediate halt to military preparations which could lead to an outbreak of civil war," the ministry said in a statement.

Pro-Russian protesters seized official buildings in the eastern cities of Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk on Sunday night, demanding that referendums be held on whether to join Russia like the one that preceded Moscow's takeover of Crimea.

(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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