Ukrainian president lifts objections to referendum on giving more powers to restive regions

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that he does not object to a referendum that could give more powers to the restive regions engulfed in more than a year of warfare.

The conflict between Russia-backed rebels and government troops in eastern Ukraine has claimed more than 6,000 lives. When it began, protesters in the east demanded a vote on giving their regions more autonomy. Such calls were rejected by the Ukrainian government at the time.

But Poroshenko on Monday met a parliamentary commission that is drafting amendments to the country's main law and said in a televised meeting that if the commission decides that such a vote is necessary he would not stand in the way of a referendum.