On Tuesday, Ukrainian parliament took a step to resolve the crisis by passing laws that would grant greater autonomy to rebel-held parts of the east, as well as amnesty for many of the separatists, a major concession to both Moscow and the rebels.
But in an interview with The Associated Press in Donetsk on Wednesday, rebel leader Andrei Purgin said that the separatist leadership was not willing to allow Donetsk and Luhansk to remain part of Ukraine.
"We perceive this as a document in which we can find certain points to start a dialogue," Purgin said. "But there is a red line we cannot cross: we do not accept any political unions... with Ukraine. No federative, no unitary structure."
And even more amazing is that Purgin moved his lips with no sign of discomfort despite Putin's arm pushed into Purgin's nether region all the way past the elbow!