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Mariupol, Ukraine (CNN) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he wants a delay in a referendum on whether certain eastern Ukrainian residents want sovereignty from Kiev and that presidential elections scheduled for this month are "a step in the right direction."
But he added that the planned May 25 presidential vote Kiev wants to hold would "not solve anything unless all of Ukraine's people first understand how their rights will be guaranteed" once the election has taken place.
The comments, according to a transcript published by the Kremlin, came after Putin met with the chairman of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on Wednesday.