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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday rejected a proposal from Russia for a referendum to be held to decide the fate of eastern Ukraine, saying it would not be legitimate since the area is not under control of the Ukranian government.

The proposal had emerged in the days following U.S. President Donald Trump's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday.

"The administration is not considering supporting a referendum in the eastern Ukraine," said Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

He added: "To organise a so-called referendum in a part of Ukraine which is not under government control would have no legitimacy."

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Reuters