KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Lawmakers and officials from eastern Ukraine say a large sector of the population has lost hope in the interim administration in Kiev.
The politicians delivered that message today during a second round of European-brokered talks intended to resolve the crisis in Ukraine. They accused the central government of ignoring legitimate grievances of the eastern regions that have been overrun by pro-Russia militia fighting for independence.
One eastern leader said last weekend's unofficial referendum in favor of independence "expressed the will of the people."
Acting Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called on the eastern leaders to disarm the insurgents, regain control and "start a political dialogue."
Today's talks came hours after gunfire was heard throughout the night near the eastern city of Slovyansk, the stronghold of pro-Russia fighters, where forces loyal to the Kiev government had moved in to protect a television tower.