Pro-Russian Rebels Lower Demands In Peace Talks06:52
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Pro-Russian rebels softened their demand for full independence Monday, saying they would respect Ukraine's sovereignty in exchange for autonomy - a shift that reflects Moscow's desire to strike a deal at a new round of peace talks.

The insurgents' platform, released at the start of Monday's negotiations in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, represented a significant change in their vision for the future of Ukraine's eastern, mainly Russian-speaking region.

It remains unclear, however, whether the talks can reach a compromise amid the brutal fighting that has continued in eastern Ukraine. On Monday, the rebels pushed Ukrainian government forces from an airport near Luhansk, the second-largest rebel-held city, the latest in a series of military gains.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson joins Here & Now's Robin Young from southeastern Ukraine with details.

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This segment aired on September 1, 2014.

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