Authorities in Kiev said Thursday a federal state is not an option, just as opinion polls in Russia indicated most citizens believe Kremlin statements Russia is not involved in the Ukraine conflict -- but would support the decision if it did happen.
The news comes on the same day Ukraine's lawmakers voted to keep pro-Western Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in place, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said 100 percent of Ukrainians opposed the idea of federalization, fighting against advice Ukraine adopt a federal form of government that would give its individual regions more authority. Ukrainian officials say it’s merely a method of making its eastern regions more vulnerable to Russian influence.
“These are our warm wishes to those in the East or West who advise federalization,” he said, sarcastically, in an address to the new parliament in Kiev Thursday, according to Reuters.
In Russia, an opinion poll indicated most people believe Kremlin assurances Moscow hasn't been sending soldiers to eastern Ukraine but would nevertheless support such action.
The survey, conducted by Levada Nov. 14-17, included 1,600 people. Fifty-three percent said they believed the government, and 45 percent said they would react positively if they learned Russian soldiers had been sent to fight while 34 percent disapproved.
The Russian government has repeatedly denied it has sent troops to back Russian separatists weeks after annexing the Crimea in March. Western authorities say Russia is trying to bring some of the eastern regions closer to the Kremlin, but Russian state authorities claim any fighters in the region are volunteers or soldiers on leave.
The conflict, so far, has claimed more than 4,000 lives. During the summer, a Ukrainian advance against the rebels was slowed. Despite a truce in September, the fighting continues.
Earlier this week a top NATO commander warned about a major Russian presence along the Ukraine border.
"This international border is completely wide open and maintained open by Russian forces, so that forces, supplies, money, fighters can move across at will," U.S. Gen. Philip Breedlove said during a recent visit to Kiev, according to the Associated Press.
He also said Russia has a substantial number of troops active inside Ukraine, supporting separatists, and pledged NATO’s continued support to Ukrainian troops in their fight against the pro-Russian rebels.