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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 2nd, 2014
05:26 PM ET

Ambassador Pyatt: Russia has no veto over Ukraine defending itself

(CNN) – As growing violence in Ukraine turned deadly Friday, U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt emphasized America's support for the country's battered government.

"We support the Ukrainian government in what they're doing in the context of upholding their own laws, and trying to manage the security situation," says Pyatt.

In a bold move, Russia called for Ukrainian troops to withdraw from parts of eastern Ukraine.

"It's Ukraine's place to defend its own territory," said Pyatt.

"We see it as entirely legitimate that Ukraine is using its own defense forces, acting within the framework of international law, acting within the framework of its own constitution to get a handle on the security situation.

"We don't see that as something that Russia should be able to exercise any sort of a veto over," said the ambassador.

For more of our interview with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, check out the video above.

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