WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Friday welcomed as a "good development" moves by pro-Russian insurgents to leave government buildings they had seized in eastern Ukraine.
Local patrols by steelworkers have forced the pro-Russian insurgents to abandon the government buildings they had seized in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. The move is a setback to forces that have established footholds in eastern Ukraine as they demonstrated opposition to the interim Ukrainian government in Kiev.
"We certainly welcome any indication that separatists who ... have seized buildings, who have set up roadblocks, stockpiled weapons, are vacating buildings and ceasing the kinds of activities that have only destabilized the situation in Ukraine and led to confrontations and violence," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
"So that would certainly be a good development," he said. Carney noted that the moves come a little more than a week before a May 25 election to choose a permanent government The U.S. and its allies are working to help ensure that the elections go forward problem-free, and have warned Russia against trying to influence the outcome.
"The situation is calm and preparations are on track," Carney said. "That's certainly a good thing and a welcome development."