KIEV, Ukraine – Germany's foreign minister is set to visit Kiev to help start talks between the Ukrainian government and its foes following the declaration of independence by two eastern regions.
On his visit Tuesday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier hopes to encourage a quick launch of "national dialogue" between the central government and its foes in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions that form the nation's industrial heartland.
Pro-Russian insurgents, who have seized government buildings and clashed with government forces during the past month, held Sunday's referendum, which was rejected by Ukraine and the West.
About 90 percent of voters backed sovereignty, and the two regions declared independence Monday. The insurgents in Donetsk even asked to join Russia, but the Kremlin has shown no immediate intention to subsume eastern Ukraine following Crimea's annexation.