Ukraine Protesters Call on Russian ĹPeacekeepersĺ
Published: April 9, 2014 (Issue # 1805)
Anti-government protesters ináthe Ukrainian city ofáDonetsk onáMonday announced aáreferendum onájoining Russia set foráMay 11 andácalled onáRussian ôpeacekeepersö toáintervene ináthe country, triggering fears ofáa ôCrimean scenarioö foráUkraineĺs eastern regions.
Theámove followed theáseizure ofáthe regional administration buildings ináDonetsk andáKharkiv andáthe security service building ináLuhansk byápro-Russian protesters onáSunday. Theátakeovers marked theábiggest success ofápro-Russian activists ináa series ofáprotests that have shaken eastern Ukraine since pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted inálate February andánew leaders appointed.
Theáprotests also come atáa time ofáheightened tensions between Russia andáthe West over what European andáU.S. leaders see as Russiaĺs illegal seizure ofáCrimea, which followed aáreferendum after appeals foráRussian intervention similar toáthose now being made ináDonetsk, Kharkiv andáLuhansk. á
While president Vladimir Putin was accused byáUkrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov ofáorchestrating theáôseparatist unrestö ináDonetsk, Luhansk andáKharkiv, theápresident placed theáblame elsewhere.
Addressing Ukrainian andáCrimean affairs atáa meeting ofáthe Federal Security Service onáMonday, Putin urged theáservice toácrack down onáwhat he described as theáôdestructive activitiesö ofánongovernmental organizations.
ôThis happened ináUkraine, when nationalist, neo-Nazi groups andámilitants that were behind theáanti-constitutional coup dĺetat were financed fromáabroad through nongovernmental organizations,ö he said.
TheáFSB would now ôface theátask ofápreventing former criminals andárepresentatives ofávarious radical andáextremist movements fromágetting intoágovernment bodies [in Crimea],ö he said.
InáDonetsk, theáprotesters set up aáôpeopleĺs councilö onáMonday that declared theácreation ofáa ôrepublic ofáDonetskö andáset aáreferendum onábecoming independent andájoining Russia. Pro-Russian demonstrators also seized theásecurity service building ináthe city onáMonday.
InáKharkiv, police seized control ofáthe regional administration building onáMonday morning but some pro-Russian activists remained inside andárefused toáleave. Pro-Kiev demonstrators that support Ukraineĺs new government also held aárally ináthe city but were dispersed byátheir pro-Russian opponents after violent clashes.
Protesters set up barricades ináDonetsk, Luhansk andáKharkiv, piling up tires andápreparing Molotov cocktails ináa fashion similar toáthat ofáthe anti-Yanukovych protests ináKiev earlier this year.
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