Ukraine prepare troops to recapture city seized by pro-Russian separatists

April 12, 2014 | By | Reply More

April 12, – Armed separatists took control of a city in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and Kiev prepared troops to tackle what it called an “act of aggression by Russia”, pushing the conflict between the neighbors into a dangerous new phase.

hromedia Ukraine prepare troops to recapture city seized by pro-Russian separatists eu news2Pro-Russian activists carrying automatic weapons seized government buildings in Slaviansk, a town about 150 km (90 miles) from the Russian border, and set up barricades on the outskirts of the city.

In Kramatorsk, some 80 km to the north, gunmen seized the police station after a shootout with police, a Reuters witness said.

Government buildings in several other towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions were attacked in what Washington said were moves reminiscent of the events that preceded Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

“We are very concerned by the concerted campaign we see under way in eastern Ukraine today by pro-Russian separatists, apparently with support from Russia,” said Laura Lucas Magnuson, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council.

“We saw similar so-called protest activities in Crimea before Russia’s purported annexation.

“We call on President (Vladimir) Putin and his government to cease all efforts to destabilize Ukraine, and we caution against further military intervention.”

The West accuses Russia of destabilizing the region as a pretext to potentially sending in troops to protect the local Russian-speaking population, as it did in Crimea. NATO says Russian armed forces are massing on Ukraine’s eastern border, while Moscow says they are on normal manoeuvres.

Any escalation would increase the risk of a “gas war” that could disrupt energy supplies across Europe.

“DISPLAY OF AGGRESSION”

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov called the attacks in the east “a display of external aggression from Russia.”

“Units of the interior and defense ministries are implementing an operational response plan,” he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Ukraine was “demonstrating its inability to take responsibility for the fate of the country” and warned that any use of force against Russian speakers “would undermine the potential for cooperation” including talks due to be held on Thursday between Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union.

In Slaviansk, at least 20 men with pistols and automatic weapons took over the police station and a security service headquarters before spreading out through the city.

Officials said the militants, wearing mismatched combat fatigues, balaclavas and bulletproof vests, seized hundreds of pistols from weapons stores in the buildings.

Press journalist for HRO media – Debi campillos contributed to this report.

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Category: European Crises

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