KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- European-backed peace talks on ending Ukraine's crisis began with little promise Wednesday when pro-Russian insurgents - who weren't even invited to the session - demanded that the Kiev government recognize their sovereignty.
The "road map" put forth by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe calls for national dialogue as a first step toward resolving the escalating tensions, in which the insurgents have seized government buildings in eastern Ukraine and declared independence, while government forces have mounted limited offensives to retake control of the region.
But instead of a dialogue, the day was more a case of competing monologues, with the two sides as far apart as ever.
Denis Pushilin, a leader of the insurgency in the city of Donetsk, said his faction was not invited to the government-organized roundtable in Kiev, and that the "talks with Kiev authorities could only be about one thing: the recognition of the Donetsk People's Republic."
Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov said in his opening remarks at the Kiev talks that authorities were "ready for a dialogue," but insisted they will not talk to the pro-Russia gunmen, which the government has denounced as "terrorists."