Ukraine's interim President Oleksandr Turchynov has ordered security forces to resume "anti-terror" operations in eastern Ukraine, after a local politician from his own party and a second person were found dead with signs of torture.
The order was made Tuesday, just hours after visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden departed the Ukrainian capital. He called on Moscow to honor its promise to withdraw support for armed pro-Russian separatists inside Ukraine. The mobilization order also followed reports that a Ukrainian Air Force plane came under fire near the eastern city of Slovyansk.
Ukraine's first attempt to dislodge separatists from the largely Russian-speaking east failed last week. Ukrainian forces have since maintained a low profile in the aftermath of a deal signed Thursday in Geneva by the United States, Russia, Ukraine and the European Union aimed at easing the crisis.
Mr. Turchynov said insurgents "are beginning to torture and kill Ukrainian patriots." He also said "they demonstratively mock the decisions taken at Geneva."
Pro-Russian gunmen are demanding the right to hold referendums on splitting with Ukraine and joining Russia. A vote last month in Crimea led to the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula.
Earlier Tuesday, in a joint appearance with Ukraine's interim prime minister, the U.S. vice president called on Moscow "to stop talking and start acting" on its commitments to restore peace in eastern Ukraine. He said Ukraine "is and must remain one country," and that the United States will not let Ukraine "walk down this road alone."
Biden also said the United States will provide Ukraine's government with an additional $50 million, including $11 million to help fund the May 25 presidential election.
In other developments, the Russian news website Gazeta.ru on Tuesday quoted the so-called "people's mayor" of Slovyansk as saying an American journalist, Simon Ostrovsky, has been taken into custody by pro-Russian militiamen.
The media outlet for which Ostrovsky works, VICE News, said it is in contact with the U.S. State Department and other appropriate government authorities to secure his safety and security.