Tag Archives: Slavyansk

Militia down chopper near Slavyansk, 9 feared dead – military spokesman

Nine people are feared dead after self-defense forces in the Donetsk region shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter, which was used for transporting military cargo, a Kiev spokesman said.

The Mi-8 helicopter was downed “at about 5 pm local time at Karachun Mountain near Slavyansk by a rocket fired from a portable air defense system,” eastern Ukraine military operation spokesman, Vladislav Seleznyov, wrote on his Facebook page.

“There were nine people aboard the helicopter. According to preliminary information, all those aboard died in the crash,”
he said, adding that the helicopter was returning to a Ukrainian checkpoint after a cargo delivery mission.

The self-defense troops, who fired the missile, escaped to the nearby village of Bylbasovka, Seleznyov wrote.

The Ukraine’s National Guard fighters told the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper that the Mi-8 helicopter was downed during takeoff from Karachun Mountain (a strategic high point near Slavyansk where the Ukrainian army’s artillery is deployed).

The place where the shot came from has been established, with troops currently being deployed there, the source in the National Guard added.

The Ukrainian forces continued shelling the village of Semyonovka on the outskirts of Slavyansk on Tuesday night and during the day, the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk told ITAR-TASS news agency earlier.

The heavy artillery fire has prevented the self-defense forces from recovering the bodies of two of its troops killed the previous day, they said.

“There’s no living thing left in the village. Everything is devastated, including factories and railway crossings,” the self-defense forces stressed. “The houses are abandoned. Nobody is harvesting crops from their gardens.”

Meanwhile, the town of Slavyansk remains without a water supply, with the majority of shops and pharmacies staying closed.

Also on Tuesday, a crew from Russia’s Channel One was caught in the shelling outside Slavyansk; the journalists luckily avoided injury.

Also, fighting is currently underway in the suburbs of the city of Donetsk, said Aleksandr Boroday, prime minister of the People’s Republic of Donetsk.

“Artillery and armored vehicles are being used,” he told RIA-Novosti news agency, adding people have already been killed and injured in the fighting.

President Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over the resumption of hostilities in Slavyansk and urged Kiev to strive to bring about an end to the bloodshed in southeastern Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, now I have relevant information that in one of the most troubled areas – near the city of Slavyansk – the fighting is currently underway; [Kiev’s] paratroopers have landed there and there are already victims. It’s sad,” Putin said during a press-conference in Vienna, Austria.

Read more: Putin: Weeklong cease-fire in Ukraine should be extended, accompanied by talks

The fighting in the Donetsk region is continuing despite the seven-day ceasefire announced by Ukraine’s new president, Petro Poroshenko, on June 20, which was agreed to by the self-defense forces on Monday.

Putin stressed that “the declarations should be backed by real actions, otherwise none of the problems will be solved.”

“Simply declaring a ceasefire isn’t enough,” the Russian president said, calling on the sides to begin “substantive negotiations” on the matter as soon as possible.

“Seven days of ceasefire is insufficient,” he added.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has not excluded the possibility of a premature cancellation of the ceasefire in the country’s southeast, the president’s press service said.

During a meeting with the heads of the country’s security agencies, he touched upon the issue of the downed helicopter, saying that the self-defense forces have no respect for the truce.

According to the president, Kiev’s forces have come under fire 35 times since he announced his peace plan last week.

Poroshenko gave the security agencies “an order to open fire without hesitation” on the self-defense forces,” the president’s press service said.

But the authorities of the People’s Republic of Donetsk said the “so-called ceasefire,” which Porosheko now wants to cancel, “was never in place.”

“The Ukrainian security forces began shelling Semyonovka and Slavyansk in the morning,” Miroslav Rudenko, one of the Donbas self-defense leaders, told Interfax news agency, adding that the artillery fire was less intense than in previous days, but still steady.

“It was only a declaration [of truce]. On the ground, hostilities didn’t stop even for an hour,”
he added.

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Explosions heard in Slavyansk, reports of fighting

Ukrainian soldiers and police take position at a checkpoint near the eastern Ukranian city of Slavyansk

Military action has reportedly resumed in the town of Slavyansk in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region, with local residents reporting on social media loud explosions and a large number of signal bombs in the sky.

At least one self-defense activist was wounded as fighting resumed between Kiev forces and self-defense units, Hromadske TV reported, citing local residents.

“[There was a] very strong blast – it was heard in the center [of the town]. Windows are shaking on Artema Street,” one local said on social media.

“At 21:00 local time the battle began in Andreevka. The junta has artillery and is shelling from its positions on Mount Karachun. At the same time, Kiev troops delivered a blow from behind Semyonovka,” the self-defense forces of the People’s Republic of Donetsk told Politnavigator.net.

“The blast was so powerful…that I thought lightning struck a fence nearby,” one resident wrote.

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OSCE observers released in Slavyansk arrive in Berlin

OSCE observer Axel Schneider leaves the plane in Berlin’s Tegel airport, May 3, 2014.

Military OSCE observers captured by anti-Kiev activists in Slavyansk on April 25 have been released and delivered to Donetsk. Most of them have flown to Berlin.

A German government plane carrying seven of the freed OSCE observers, four of whom are German, landed at Berlin’s Tegel Airport at around 9 p.m. local time, Bild reports. They were welcomed by Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Earlier on Saturday the Russian president’s representative Vladmir Lukin said that “All 12 people I have on the list were freed.”

Last week, the military observers were captured by anti-Kiev protesters who accused them of espionage. Earlier one of the detained – a Swedish officer suffering from diabetes – was released.

Lukin stressed the release of the observers wasn’t a bargain. “It was a voluntary humanitarian act, and we’re very grateful for it to those controlling the city,” he said.

Lukin has delivered the OSCE observers to Donetsk and they have met with representatives of the Council of Europe, according to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OSCE.

“As soon as they are transferred to the representatives of the Council of Europe, we’ll be able to say that the mission is over,” Lukin said earlier.

On the way to Donetsk their car came under fire, but all of them are fine, one of Lukin’s colleagues, who was with the observers in Slavyansk, Evgeny Kozhokin, told RIA Novosti.

The OSCE observers were treated well in captivity, Col. Igor Turansky, head of the Ukrainian military mission to the OSCE, said after arriving at Kiev airport from Donetsk.

“There are no injuries, all was well. [We were] given food, water, sleep, treated well,” he said, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) welcomes OSCE observers John Christensen (C) from Denmark Germany’s Axel Schneider (2nd L) and unidentified observers in Berlin’s Tegel airport, May 3, 2014.

He noted that the self-defense forces said they detained the observers because they “did not coordinate their actions with the representatives of the locals.” Turansky added that the self-defense troops wanted to know the purpose of the observers’ visit. According to him, the detained Ukrainian officers were treated the same as the OSCE observers.

Kiev authorities jeopardized the lives of the OSCE observers who were in Slavyansk, said Maria Zaharova, head of the press department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry.

“More or less prepared analysts did not doubt the fact that these military observers were deployed to Slavyansk by the Ukrainian side and their known sponsors to create a new source of tension to escalate the crisis and to directly involve the European countries in the domestic conflict,” Zaharova told RIA Novosti.

“The Kiev junta did not only think about the observers’ security, but put their lives at direct risk by starting the punitive operation against the civilians in Slavyansk,” she added.

The conflict resolution carried out by the self-defense forces during the operation saved the lives of the foreigners, she added.

The interim Ukrainian government was supporting the mission carried out by Vladimir Lukin, including aid in establishing contacts and coordinating activities at a central administration level, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry stated, as quoted by Interfax news agency.

“Vladimir Lukin was advised of a safe way from Donetsk to Slavyansk, with transportation. The Ukrainian security forces insist on this, being responsible for the lives of both the observers and the negotiators,” the statement said.

Vladimir Lukin is Russia’s official envoy to Ukraine. He initially had difficulties in entering Slavyansk as the Ukrainian army and the Right Sector militants refused him access to the city.

The Kiev government was initially reluctant to support the mission.

“We get the impression that the Kiev administration views the mission as something handicapping their plans to start the attack on Slavyansk in the coming hours,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

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Ukrainian army launches assault on Kramatorsk

Ukraine’s National Guard is reportedly storming the eastern town of Kramatorsk. Meanwhile, the army has resumed its special operation in Slavyansk, where two soldiers have been killed.

“The assault is starting now,” a Kramatorsk self-defense activist has told RIA Novosti by phone. Another activist told the news agency that the National Guard opened fire on self-defense forces.

Dozens have been killed or injured in Kramatorsk, a doctor told RIA Novosti. The medic added that the fighting has now stopped and all of those injured have been taken to hospitals in Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. At least two died on the way to the hospital, she said.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military’s special operation has resumed in the nearby town of Slavyansk. The headquarters of the people’s self-defense is under snipers’ fire, according to Itar-Tass. There are reports of injuries among protesters.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that two military personnel were killed on Friday in the village of Andreyevka, not far from Slavyansk, Donetsk region. According to the ministry, they came under an attack with the use of small arms.

“The violent military confrontation is ongoing. To date, information about the deaths of two Ukrainian servicemen has been confirmed,” the ministry said in a statement, as quoted by Interfax-Ukraine.

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Breaking news – Unknown gunmen land from helicopters, attack checkpoint in Donetsk region

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DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Unknown assailants landed in helicopters and attacked a checkpoint in Soledar city in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region, a militia source told RIA Novosti adding that there is a fight going on.

There is no information on the number of casualties.

Soledar is located about 30 kilometers south east of Slavyansk.

The people’s governor of Donbass region Denis Pushilin confirmed to RT that there is fighting in Soledar.

As the unknown men attacked the checkpoint, the militia was forced to retreat, the source told RIA.

The second checkpoint is preparing for attack he said, adding that there are about 50 activists, many without weapons.

“We cannot send reinforcements from Slavyansk as all [forces] are defending the city,” the source stressed.

The militia has blocked the entrances to warehouses storing arms to prevent the National guard forces from confiscationg the weapons, a militia source told RIA.

He added that the warehouses were left over from Soviet times and have in storage only outdated weaponry, such as Mauser, Colts, Degtyarev machine guns, submachine PCA guns but in great amounts.

“Armed men attacked our warehouses storing weapons, we are repelling the attack, there is fighting,” Interfax cites a militia in the people’s self-defense HQ as saying.

Kiev authorities are carrying out a military operation against anti-government militia supporting the federalization of Ukraine in the eastern part of the country.

Kiev said on Friday that “the second stage” of the military operation in Slavyansk has been launched.

Slavyansk is in the control of people’s self-defense forces that are defending the city, repelling the attack of the Kiev military.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW

 

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‘NATO spies’? Slavyansk self-defense forces keep foreign military inspectors detained

Federalization supporter stands guard outside the security service (SBU) regional building which was seized by pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, on April 25, 2014.

The self-defense forces in Slavyansk have refrained from immediately freeing the detained foreign military observers they are calling “NATO spies.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry has promised to do its utmost to accelerate their release.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that it is taking measures to resolve the situation with the detained military observers.

The ministry pointed out that the Vienna document pins full responsibility for the security of observers on the receiving party, in this case Kiev.

“It would be logical to expect from the present Kiev authorities a preliminary coordination of location of activities and safety of the inspectors in the areas where these authorities do not control the situation and where a military operation against the citizens of their own country has been launched,” the statement said.

“We believe that those people should be released as soon as possible,” also said Russia’s envoy to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Andrey Kelin. “Just like all other members of the organization, we are concerned with the developments.”

“Their detention would not help with defusing the tension on the ground and deescalating the conflict,” he added.

‘Detained group alright, could be exchanged for anti-Kiev activists’

A group of German negotiators have already arrived in eastern Ukraine for talks to set free the detained military observers, Itar-Tass quoted Germany’s Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) news agency as saying.

The detained team is “not OSCE monitors” but was sent by OSCE member states in accordance with the 2011 Vienna Document on military transparency, the organization explained on Friday. The current Germany-led group arrived to Ukraine on April 21 by Kiev’s request.

Speaking to journalists on Saturday, the “people’s mayor” of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, did not rule out that the group could be exchanged for anti-government activists that had been detained by Kiev authorities.

“People’s mayor” of the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomaryov (L), speaks during a press conference in Slavyansk on April 26, 2014.

“The Kiev junta has our fellows and comrades therefore, if there is a possibility, we are ready for an exchange,” Ponomaryov said, answering the questions of journalists on Saturday.

He dismissed the allegations of the Ukrainian Security Service that the group is being held in “inhuman conditions.”

“They are in alright condition. One of the soldiers suffers from diabetes, but it is not a serious condition, he is on tablets. There is medicine there is food,” Ponomaryov said, adding that they are still trying to verify the purpose of the group’s activities in Slavyansk.

A statement released by the Ukraine’s state security service on Saturday maintained that “the official representatives of the OSCE are being held in inhuman conditions,” and that “among those detained is a person who needs immediate medical help.”

“The terrorists plan to use the hostages as a human shield,” Kiev’s statement claimed.

‘No NATO spies fighting in Ukraine’ – NATO

The protesters said they detained eight officers of NATO member states – four from Germany, and one each from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Poland. The group was accompanied by four Ukrainian officers, thought to be members of the country’s general staff.

On Saturday a representative of the protesters told journalists that the detained officers had “maps of Slavyansk with checkpoints and barricades marked on them, dog tags and live ammo,” which proved they were acting officers gathering intelligence.

The journalists were shown some of the documents of the detainees, in which the military observers are described as officers. The names of three of them are as follows: John Christensen (Denmark), Axel Schneider (Germany) and Krzysztof Kobelsky (Poland).

With the preponderance of officers from NATO member countries in the group, they were branded “NATO spies” by the militia.

NATO’s official spokeperson, Oana Lungescu, tweeted on Saturday that the alliance has no force deployed in Ukraine.

A similar statement was made earlier by NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow.

Reinforcements sent to Slavyansk

The interim people’s governor of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, Denis Pushilin, promised to send reinforcements to Slavyansk, which is currently besieged by Ukrainian troops.

“We’ve reached an agreement on full coordination of actions in Slavyansk as the command of defense of Slavyansk has been handed over to the authorities of the Donetsk republic,” Pushilin said.

Two armed men (Front) check two men’s identity papers in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 26, 2014.

On Friday, security forces loyal to the coup-imposed government in Kiev announced the beginning of the second stage of a “counter-terrorist operation” in the Donetsk region. They said the plan is to establish a full blockade of Slavyansk.

According to Ponomaryov, the city is being defended by approximately 2,500 volunteers.

Earlier, the Slavyansk self-defense forces detained a number of people, including journalists, suspecting that they could be gathering information for the Ukrainian authorities or for the radical nationalists from the Right Sector movement.

The suspicious attitude towards visitors is understandable, considering a number of fatal gun attacks on militia-held checkpoints the city witnessed in the past few days. Some of the attacks were carried out by Ukrainian troops acting in an ongoing “anti-terrorist operation” against Slavyansk. The perpetrators of some of the others remain unidentified, with the protesters laying the blame on Right Sector activists.

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Ukrainian troops destroy check point of federalization supporters near Slavyansk

KIEV, April 25, 23:50 UTC+4 – ITAR-TASS.

Ukrainian troops, which are conducting a special operation in Ukraine’s southeast, have destroyed a check point organized by supporters of federalization at the approaches to the town of Slavyansk, Donetsk region, the Ukrainian Security Service said on Friday.

According to the Ukrainian Security Service, the Ukrainian troops are conducting reconnaissance operations to expose gun posts near Slavyansk. “Measures have been taken to prevent any movement” of self-defence groups and not to let “additional forces and means” reach Slavyansk, the service said.

“Apart from that, Ukrainian interior ministry’s troops installed a check point at the motorway linking Izyum and Slavyansk,” the service said.

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Ukraine army launches next stage of military op ‘to isolate Slavyansk’

Ukrainian soldiers stand guard in front of an armoured personnel carrier at a checkpoint in the village of Malinivka, east of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine April 24, 2014.

Kiev authorities say “the second stage” of the military operation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk has been launched, which will “completely isolate” the anti-government stronghold. Self-defense forces are preparing for an assault.

Follow RT’s LIVE UPDATES on military operation in eastern Ukraine

Ukrainian troops were ordered to commence the next stage of the so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ around 12pm local time (10:00 GMT), according to coup-appointed acting head of presidential administration Sergey Pashinsky.

“The aim is to completely isolate Slavyansk to localize the problem. At the moment, the operation is ongoing,” the official told media as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Ukrainian armed forces have set up a military base some 20 kilometers from Slavayansk, RT’s stringer, Ukraine-based British journalist Graham Phillips reports. According to Phillips, there is an ongoing buildup of troops in the area and “snipers hiding in forests in position.” The city is being encircled, he tweets.

The military do not intend to storm Slavyansk, fearing civilian casualties, the Ukrainian Security Service has claimed.

“We will not go the length of [civilian] casualties, to storm the city. We understand that this may lead to many people coming to harm,” General Vasily Krutov, first deputy head of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU), was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Pashinsky meanwhile repeated earlier Kiev’s claims that “terrorists have placed their key strong points in kindergartens and hospitals,” branding the situation in Slavyansk as “classic terrorism.” The claims have been dismissed by Slavyansk activists as “ridiculous.”

Despite the promises of no storming of the city planned, Slavyansk self-defense activists have braced for an assault, which they fear may soon start under the guise of the city’s “blockade.”

Self-defense activists cited by ITAR-TASS have claimed that a convoy of military armored vehicles and troops bearing “no insignia” was spotted moving in the direction of Slavyansk and then “disappeared in the woods” surrounding the city.

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Putin: Kiev authorities are junta if they use force against civilians

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If Kiev authorities have started to use force against the civilian population, this is a serious crime, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Taking this action makes them a “junta” and may affect their relations with other countries, he added.

“If the Kiev regime started military actions against the country’s population, this is without doubt a very serious crime,” Putin said at All-Russia People’s Front media forum.

According to Putin current situation in East Ukraine is another proof Russia was right when it supported Crimeans, when they decided to have a referendum.

“[Otherwise] it would have seen there the same things which are now happening in the east of Ukraine, or even worse,” he said. “That’s one more proof to the fact we did it all right and in time.”

Putin believes that the use of force by the coup-imposed government in Kiev means that it’s actually a junta.

“If current authorities in Kiev have done this [used force], then they are junta,” the president said. “For one thing, they don’t have nation-wide mandate. They might have some elements of legitimacy, but only within the framework of the parliament. The rest of the government bodies are for various reasons illegitimate.”

Vladimir Putin described the use of force in eastern Ukraine as a “reprisal raid” and said that it would have an impact on Russian-Ukrainian relations.

Earlier in the day, fighting erupted just outside Slavyansk, a town in eastern Ukraine where the population voiced their protest against the Kiev authorities. Ukrainian troops in tanks and armored vehicles have been trying to break into the town.

According to the Ukrainian Interior ministry, at least five self-defense guards have been killed and one policeman injured after the “anti-terrorist operation” launched by Kiev in the town. Three checkpoints erected by the anti-government protesters have also been destroyed.

Self-defense forces managed to repel an attack at one checkpoint 3 kilometers north of Slavyansk, forcing at least three infantry vehicles to retreat, Russia-24 TV reports.

On Wednesday, authorities in Kiev announced they were resuming a military operation against protesters in eastern Ukraine, which they described as an “anti-terrorist” one.

Protesters believe the move was contrary to the agreement on de-escalation reached in Geneva.

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In Ukraine crisis, West is part of problem, not solution – analyst

Ukrainian troops have seized an airfield in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, said anti-government protesters. Four people were killed and two injured, activists added. At the same time Slavyansk is being raided by the Ukrainian military. Armored personnel vehicles are entering the city, there are many troops and the men are getting ready to defend the city, the head of the Donbass people’s militia, Sergey Tsyplakov.

Western stance on Ukraine: emotional and out of touch

Anti-government protesters have been holding rallies in the south-eastern part of Ukraine following the coup in Kiev on February 22. Activists have seized government buildings in most of the cities in the Donetsk region. On Sunday, the Kiev government launched a crackdown operation in Slavyansk. Following the event, Ukraine’s Security Council approved a full-scale security operation in the country’s eastern regions. On Monday, coup-imposed President Aleksandr Turchinov signed a decree to officially begin a “special anti-terrorist operation” in the east of the country. Voice of Russia discussed the situation with a political analyst Dmitry Babich.

Dmitry? You know the latest news. What is the likely scenario for further developments now in the country?

My impression is that the Ukrainian authorities already made a mistake, because the only way they could indeed win this war would be just to quickly attack several most important locations using the factor of unexpected attack to take back Donetsk and Kharkov maybe in just one or two days. What they did was to launch first an operation in Kramatorsk and also to block Slavyansk. So, they are losing time and, unfortunately, there are already reports about people being killed and injured. All of this will certainly make their victory, if they have some sort of victory, a mixed story.

Also, I would like to add that the people who are conducting this operation, such as the Secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine – Andrei Paruby – these are real neo-Nazis. I’m very sorry, but Paruby was one of the founders of the National-Social Party of Ukraine in 1991 together with Oleg Tyagnibok. And you can understand very well that National-Social was just a euphemism for national socialists. These people are national socialists. That’s their true name.

Still, the authorities in Ukraine, whether we like it or not, are more or less recognized by most of the world and they are saying that they are preserving the unity of the country. In some cases Russia as well supports the actions of governments who somehow try to keep the unity of the country and fight separatists. Why in this case you believe this is a mistake?

Because in this case we just recently had similar protests in Kiev and then the West and all the countries that you just described recognized the legitimacy of this new Kiev Government. At that time all these people said that the use of force would be a sort of a death penalty for Mr. Yanukovych. They said it was the reddest of all red lines. And now we see the Army being used in fighting the civil unrest and we have no protest from the West.

So, if you point out to certain inconsistencies in Russia’s position, I think that there can be many ways to answer that question. First, neither in Yugoslavia, where Russia supported the unity of the country, nor in other countries, that I can remember of during the last ten years, the authorities fighting for the unity of their country did have Nazi slogans, did use Nazi paraphernalia, did have an openly racist ideology.

Milosevic, as bad as he was, if you read all of his speeches, he was very politically correct, he never made any ethnic slurs. Mr. Paruby made terrible ethnic slurs and now he heads this operation using the Army against the civilian protesters.

If we get back to separatism in general, do you consider those disturbances in Ukraine as a reflection of separatist movement in general or it is not separatism at all?

Well, formally speaking, these people are demanding a referendum and they are demanding some kind of federalization for Ukraine. Legally, speaking this is not separatism. Some of them may want to join Russia, that’s true. But this is not a reason to use the Army against them.

And also, I think I can understand them from the human point of view, because I have been reading the Ukrainian nationalist press during the last 20 years. And in that press people from Donbas and from Kharkov were insulted in all possible ways as Soviet conservatives, as drunkards, good-for-nothings who should be exiled to Russia or maybe even cut to size and put in prison.

So, I understand why people in Donetsk are worried about being governed by the Government that basically believes in this kind of ideas. And I understand why they don’t believe they can achieve their aims by voting, because they have been trying to achieve their aims by democratic means, by voting for 20 years.

But, unfortunately, now that Crimea is no longer a part of Ukraine, the east of Ukraine is losing to the West in terms of a number of votes. Until Crimean was part of Ukraine the east and the center of Ukraine together had about 55% of the vote. Now they have less than 50% and that’s why I think they want autonomy for themselves, they want to elect their own governor, they don’t want the governor sent from Kiev. And that’s why we have all these passions running high right now.

If we get back to those latest developments, those latest news we’ve heard just now, some media have already dubbed the current situation “a point of no return”. Do you think this is the case?

No, I think that there is always a way to start a dialog, because the vast majority of Ukrainians and Russians are capable of having a dialog and the vast majority of Ukrainians and Russians do not want an open confrontation or, heaven forbid, a war. So, I think that there is always a possibility to restart a dialog.

But certainly, the Government that is now ruling the country in Kiev is discrediting itself very quickly. And I can only hope that this Government’s tumbling down will not take all of Ukraine with itself. Unfortunately, it seems to me that the Western support for this Government is almost 100%. The West has engaged itself completely with one of the sides in the conflict and this is very dangerous and very sad.

You’ve just mentioned the West, what do you think should Russia do in this situation?

Russia has been doing everything it could in terms of legally attracting attention of the West to the problems of Ukraine, trying to help the West save that country.

But if the West does not react to beatings of the two presidential candidates that happened just hours ago, if the West keeps talking about the Russian troops and Russian agents doing all the unrest in eastern Ukraine, if the West doesn’t want to notice that there are probably tens of thousands of regular civilians taking part in these protests, then the West just sort of disqualifies itself from being a party to the solution of the problem.

The West created this problem by pressuring Ukraine to sign the association agreement. And now the West just doesn’t want to become a part of the solution.

 The Voice of Russia

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