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White House: Trump 'not considering' Ukraine referendum

White House: Trump 'not considering' Ukraine referendum
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The White House said Friday that President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-DOJ official Rosenstein says he was not aware of subpoena targeting Democrats: report Ex-Biden adviser says Birx told him she hoped election turned out 'a certain way' Cheney rips Arizona election audit: 'It is an effort to subvert democracy' MORE is “not considering supporting” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to hold a referendum in eastern Ukraine.

“The Administration is not considering supporting a referendum in the eastern Ukraine,” National Security Council spokesman Garret Marquis said in a statement.

Marquis said the Minsk Agreements, a 2015 deal on the conflict in eastern Ukraine, is the process that should be followed to achieve peace in the region, and that “these agreements do not include any option for referendum.”

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“Furthermore, to organize a so-called referendum in a part of Ukraine which is not under government control would have no legitimacy,” he said.

Bloomberg first reported Thursday that Putin had raised the possibility of a such a referendum during his meeting with Trump on Monday.

Russia’s ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov, confirmed Friday that Putin had raised the topic with Trump, saying Putin made “concrete proposals” on how to handle the ongoing conflict.

Fighting broke out in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea.

Rebel leaders in the region held referendums on independence that year, but they were not recognized. The Ukrainian government has offered the area autonomy while officially remaining a part of the country.