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Ukraine Accuses Russia of 'Aggression'

Pro-Russian Militants Seize More Public Buildings in Eastern Ukrainei
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Henry Ridgwell
April 13, 2014 2:02 AM
Pro-Russian militants in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk have forced the local police chief to resign, after storming police headquarters. Armed pro-Russian groups also took over police buildings in the nearby city of Slovyansk, seizing firearms. Henry Ridgwell reports from Donetsk.

Pro-Russian Militants Seize More Public Buildings in Eastern Ukraine

Henry Ridgwell
Ukraine says Saturday's attacks by pro-Russian militants in eastern Ukraine are "an act of external aggression" by Russia, and security officials are preparing to implement "an operational response plan."

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov's evaluation appeared on Facebook Saturday, shortly after armed militants with Russian weapons seized more government buildings in the Russian-speaking east, including police headquarters in Donetsk and Kramatorsk. 

Witnesses, including western journalists, say the Kramatorsk facility was captured after a firefight, but there were no immediate reports of casualties.
 
Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
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Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
Armed men stand in front of police headquarters in Slaviansk, April 12, 2014.
The takeover of police facilities in Donetsk prompted the city's police chief to resign, while elsewhere, Western news accounts late Saturday said militants controlled the eastern city of Sloviansk.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any role in Ukraine's unrest, which erupted in full two months ago, when anti-Russian protesters in Kyiv forced then-president Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country.

US reaction

Meanwhile, the United States has called on Russia to "cease all efforts" to destabilize Ukraine.  A White House National Security Council spokeswoman said Saturday the United States is concerned that Russian separatists -- with apparent support from Moscow -- are "inciting violence and sabotage" against the Ukrainian state.  

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by telephone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the State Department said.

"During the call Kerry expressed strong concern that attacks today by armed militants in eastern Ukraine were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea,'' said a senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Militants were equipped with specialized Russian weapons and the same uniforms as those worn by the Russian forces that invaded Crimea. The secretary made clear that if Russia did not take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences,'' the official added.

The official did not state what those consequences would be.

US officials met Friday with Ukrainian finance officials to discuss a "range of strategic and economic issues" according to a State Department statement.

In Moscow, Russian state television reports Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Saturday that the crisis is caused by the Kyiv government ignoring "the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population" of the region.

Lavrov also warned that any use of force by Kyiv could undermine diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis.

Donetsk
Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.
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Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.
Members of the disbanded Ukrainian riot police unit Berkut arrive to support pro-Russian protesters in Donetsk, Apr. 12, 2014.


At the Donetsk police headquarters, the Russian colors fly alongside the regional separatist flag.

Around 200 pro-Russian protesters armed with clubs and knives took over the building Saturday and met no resistance -- forcing the police chief to resign.

“Here in Donetsk, everyone is sick of the powers in Kyiv,” complained Oleksander Korfman, one of the organizers. “That includes the police. They can’t break their pledge to the state, but they are with the people.”

Later around a dozen heavily armed Ukrainian police -- known as Berkut -- were welcomed into the headquarters. It appears there is much sympathy for the protesters among security forces.

Most of the protesters then left the police building in the hands of special forces.  One protester -- who did not want to be named -- said the takeover was aimed at ensuring police weapons are not used against the demonstrators.

“The special forces will secure the place so no one steals the weapons inside. We will go back to our positions at the regional administration building," the protester said.

Armed pro-Russian groups also stormed police buildings in the nearby city of Slovyansk Saturday. There were reports that the demonstrators seized around 400 firearms. One who gave the name Sergei explained their actions.

“Our people want to live quietly and peacefully, without the junta who seized power in Kyiv," he said, "and so that we are not under America and the West. We don't want to be their slaves. We want to be with Russia.”

Building by building, the protesters are gaining ground. Their challenge to Kyiv's authority is so far unanswered; the dangers of conflict are growing.

 
An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)
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An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)
An image released by NATO on April 10, 2014 that shows fighter jets and helicopters at Primorko-Akhtarsk Air Base, Russia, near Ukraine. (DigitalGlobe/NATO ACO PAO)
NATO says Russian armed forces are massing on Ukraine's eastern border, while Moscow says they are on normal maneuvers.

Ukraine suspends gas payments

There were other signs of heightened cross-border tensions Saturday, with the Kyiv government saying it is suspending natural gas payments to Moscow.  Details of the move were not immediately clear.  

Moscow says its neighbor owes $ 2.2 billion in payment arrears.  Early this month, the Russian energy giant Gazprom announced two price increases that effectively raise Ukrainian gas costs by about 80 percent.  Additionally, Russian President Vladimir Putin has hinted that Moscow may begin demanding energy payments from Kyiv at the time of delivery.

Top diplomats from Russia, the United States, Ukraine and the European Union are set to hold emergency talks on the crisis April 17 in Geneva.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters

Images from Ukraine
 
  • A pro-Russian protester whose helmet reads "Donetsk Republic," pickets a building where Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk was meeting with regional leaders from eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk, April 11, 2014.
  • Leaders of pro-Russian protesters hold a news briefing inside the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
  • A group of pro-Russian activists warm themselves at a bonfire next to barricades in front of an entrance to the Ukrainian regional office of the Security Service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 11, 2014.
  • Motorists watch a Ukrainian military convoy pass by near the city of Donetsk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian protesters set barbed wire on a barricade outside the SBU state security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 10, 2014.
  • Masked pro-Russian activists guard barricades at the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • A pro-Russian activist speaks to other protesters at barricades in front of a security service regional office in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • A masked man stands in front of barricades and Soviet era red and Russian national flags at an entrance to the regional office of the security service in Luhansk, Ukraine, April 9, 2014.
  • Communist lawmakers scuffle with right-wing Svoboda (Freedom) Party lawmakers during a session of the Ukrainian parliament in Kyiv, April 8, 2014.
  • A view through a broken window of the regional administration building shows a cordon of Interior Ministry members blocking a group of pro-Russian protesters in Kharkiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
  • Street cleaners sweep away bullet cases as they remove trash and a barricade erected by pro-Russian protesters near a building of the state security service in Donetsk, Ukraine, April 8, 2014.
  • Pro-Russian activists gather behind a barricade with Russian flags in front of the entrance to the regioanl security service office in Luhansk, west of the Russian border, in Ukraine, April 8, 2014.

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by: Jack C from: USA
April 16, 2014 11:52 PM
To the Russian and American Baby Boomers

Think back hard to when you were taught in school to dunk and cover in the event of a nuclear bomb. Now, some 50 years later, we once again have to teach our children how to dunk and cover, except now we now that this in reality is a waste of time and if such a horrible event were to ever happen, we are all doomed to extinction. So why is Russia talking of turning America into nuclear ash, knowing that Russia would also be destroyed. Has our generation learned nothing from history, are we all that stupid that we would allow a few power hungry idiots to destroy mankind. I myself want so much more fore my children, but I especially don't want them to live under the fear we did during the cold war. That was a horrible and unforgettable time in my life. As a young child, I remember seeing the horrible looks on the faces of all the adults, praying that bombs would not rain down upon us. The sad fact is that Europe had just recovered from a WORLD WAR that killed 60 to 70 million people on every continent on the globe. Yet after that war, came the cold war? Now some 50 years later, we are once again headed for a cold war on a global scale. How stupid is mankind and how many chances are we going to get. At the rate events are unfolding, this may be are last cold war, given global warming and the stupidity of mankind with its ability to destroy the world in a matter of 20 or 30 minutes. Perhaps it would be better if apes and monkeys took over, they would probably do a better job then mankind has over the last 100 years.
A Baby Boomers Opinion From America


by: Jack C from: USA
April 16, 2014 2:34 PM
America must stand behind its words!!!

The American people are tired of hearing President Obama say "further cost' s will be imposed" unless Russia stops its aggression. Well President Obama, stop talking and implement those strong cost' s or step back and let someone else lead. Your stalling, waiting for the European Union to decide what sanctions it will implement is not showing leadership. Implement the strong sanction' s and let the EU follow or join Mr.Putin and bow to his whims. The EU is so dysfunctional, that it will take them month's to reach some type of unilateral agreement for strong sanctions for fear of hurting their economy.

Well EU, a war between Ukraine and Russia will have far worse consequences as it escalates then any sanctions will have. Based on the evidence presented, Mr.Putin is paying absolutely no attention to Europe or America. So bite the bullet and implement those strong sanctions, or one by one, Mr.Putin will infiltrate and instigate trouble in all of the old Soviet Union Federation Countries, and one by one his propaganda machine will have the pro Russian few all wanting to join Mother Russia as he spreads fear. The USA must support Ukraine as stated in the Budapest Memorandum that the United States signed and agreed to with the Ukraine government. To do this, the United States must step forward an implement those strong sanctions (cost's) you keep talking about. Actions must be taken to put a severe hurt into the Russian economy, forcing Mr.Putin to step back within his borders and refrain from further aggression of his neighbors.

IMPLEMENT THOSE TOUGH SANCTIONS NOW.
An AMERICAN's point of view


by: Jack C. from: USA
April 14, 2014 11:00 PM
The Mother Country betrays its offspring

In 1994 in the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine was asked to surrender its nuclear weapons to reduce the threat of nuclear war. They agreed, since their mother country RUSSIA swore it would not invade its borders and Ukraine gave their nuclear weapons to mother Russia, what a huge mistake by everyone involved. Ukraine was befriended by Russia, as long as they thought like a Russian and posed no threat to Russia's' s plan of becoming a world power. As we now see, this was to be accomplished my conquering it's neighbors, one by one. Once Ukraine started to have western thoughts of FREEDOM, this was a major threat to Mr.Putin. His thoughts of grandeur and becoming a world leader with vast powers was threatened, so he seized Crimea and now wants Ukraine to achieve that goal. As a direct result of Russia's aggressive 19th century actions, the Russian people will begin to pay a heavy financial price for that aggression. Europe will quickly find ways to resolve its dependence on Russian oil and gas, and this will drastically impact the cash flow into Russia. The added burden of supporting Crimea and Ukraine will drain their finances even further, and without a WORLD MARKET TO SELL IT'S GOODS, the Russian people will slowly become impoverished, drastically reducing the living standards of all Russian people except those select few appointed by Mr.Putin. I wish the Russian people only the best, and fear that you are in a terrible situation at present, through no fault of the people.

An AMERICAN's point of view.


by: Jack C from: USA
April 14, 2014 10:58 PM
Why do RUSSIAN'S think that AMERICAN's hates them

I am amazed at just how much hatred has been brainwashed into the Russian people when I read post from their sites. The Russian people must think that American stand around plotting on how we can overthrow Russia and harm its people. This is so sad, since the average American may think of Russia every few years when some conflict in Europe arises. Otherwise, we never even think of Russia, since your country is so isolated from the rest of the world. Your friend countries are growing smaller and smaller every day as a result of your hostile, aggressive government and your corrupt news stations that are propaganda machines controlled by them. Your country is so out of date with the rest of the world, that you make no sense to our way of thinking and we have no idea were this crap is comming from. I can only end by saying that taking over Ukraine by force will isolate your country even further and your own gonvernment will turn on its people to stay in power. Your a country placed in a sad position, led by a corrupt man who dreams of being a world leader from days long ago when Russia had czars, who had vast powers over a much stronger federation. Fortunately, that federation is long gone, since many of its members demanded greater freedom. However, Russia does have the capability to turn America to ash, but so does America have that power along with many other countries. This option is what is refered to as the final solution to end all life on earth and let mother nature start new life in 300 million years when the radioactivity has dissipated to an acceptable level for life to further evolve. Is this what the Russian people and its government really want?


by: Jack C from: USA
April 14, 2014 6:22 PM
Why do the Russian people think that America hates them?

I am amazed at just how much hatred has been brainwashed into the Russian people when I read post from their sites. The Russian people must think that American stand around plotting on how we can overthrow Russia and harm its people. This is so sad, since the average American may think of Russia every few years when some conflict in Europe arises. Otherwise, we never even think of Russia, since your country is so isolated from the rest of the world. Your friend countries are growing smaller and smaller every day as a result of your hostile, aggressive government and your corrupt news stations that are propaganda machines controlled by them. Your country is so out of date with the rest of the world, that you make no sense to our way of thinking and we have no idea were this crap is comming from. I can only end by saying that taking over Ukraine by force will isolate your country even further and your own gonvernment will turn on its people to stay in power. Your a country placed in a sad position, led by a corrupt man who dreams of being a world leader from days long ago when Russia had czars, who had vast powers over a much stronger federation. Fortunately, that federation is long gone, since many of its members demanded greater freedom. However, Russia does have the capability to turn America to ash, but so does America have that power along with many other countries. This option is what is refered to as the final solution to end all life on earth and let mother nature start new life in 300 million years when the radioactivity has dissipated to an acceptable level for life to further evolve. Is this what the Russian people and its government really want? In 1994 in the Budapest Memorandum, Ukraine was asked to surrender its nuclear weapons to reduce the threat of nuclear war. They concluded and gave them to mother Russia, what a huge mistake by everyone involved. Ukraine was befriended by Russia, as long as they thought like a Russian and posed no threat to Russia's world power struggle. Once Ukraine started to have western thoughts of FREEDOM, this was a major threat to Mr.Putin. His thoughts of grandeur and becoming a world leader with vast powers was threatened, so he seized Crimea and now wants Ukraine to achieve that goal. Russia has underestimated the military might of both the US and NATO which have spent vast amounts to keep their military capabilities current and state of the art. So once Europe resolves its dependence on Russian oil and gas, Mr.Putin will fade into history as just another corrupt Russian dictator trying to grab as much of Europe through military might as possible. However, as Russia's monetary resources dwindle, so will it's world influence, and so will it's leaders fade into the history books.
An AMERICAN's point of view.


by: politicalGenius from: miami, fla
April 14, 2014 10:19 AM
I am not at all surprised that this is happening. Ukraine has alwaysbeen low-hanging fruit for 'putin the conquerer'. What is rather perplexing is the EU and the UN reaction to it. Angela.Merckel and company seem to have a short attention span..,,,east germany,soviet union, sounds farmilier? Also lets not forget,EU members get about 33% of their natural gas from mr putin and his oligaths!


by: AAR from: Global
April 14, 2014 2:42 AM
Sad to say but the die is cast...after reviewing the history of the region the seeds of this go back to earlier wars and conflicts WWI and WWII Russia deported entire populations and replaced them with loyal settlers to "protect" their west borders from outside influence while the west stood by and watched and this strategy will not work, when Russia falls apart the noise will be heard throughout the galaxy!


by: Barry from: UK
April 13, 2014 3:07 PM
Russia has not only copied US coup-staging tactics, but is now better at them. The US never achieved comparable results in such a short time-frame. Emboldened by their newly discovered power, Russian strategists will soon be picking more and more countries to "dismember" using the same tactic, including the US itself.


by: Sid from: Ukraine
April 13, 2014 11:43 AM
FREEZE RUSSIAN OFFICIALS AND MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILIES BANK ACCOUNTS! THEY TRANSFERED MONEY TO WIFE'S, CHILDREN'S ACCOUNTS!


by: heho from: kenya
April 13, 2014 5:52 AM
New Ukraine rulers do not have the interest of country at heart. Their most important duty is to safe guard the interests of Ukraine people, not EU, not US. But then they were brought to power using USAID sponsored demonstartions through the regime change ideology of US government

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