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Putin calls on Ukraine rebels to put off secession vote

Postpone your referendum. That was the message from Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday to pro-Moscow separatists in neighboring Ukraine. They want to hold a vote on independence May 11th, potentially undermining national elections set for later in the month. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "We call on the representatives of southeastern Ukraine, the supporters of the federalization of the country, to postpone the referendum planned for May 11 this year." The U.S. and European Union had threatened Russia with tighter sanctions if it interfered with Ukraine's general election. Sunday's planned referendum was seen as a potential trigger for those sanctions. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, SAYING: "I want to underline that the planned presidential elections in Kiev are a move in the right direction but they won't solve anything if all of the citizens of Ukraine don't understan

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