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Russia urges OSCE to assist in stopping punitive Kiev operation in east Ukraine

May 02, 2014, 12:25 UTC+3 VIENNA

The Ukrainian authorities were conducting a full-scale sweep operation in Sloviansk

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© ITAR-TASS/Michael Pochuev

VIENNA, May 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia urged the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to take some measures to stop a punitive operation of current Kiev authorities in east Ukraine, Russian Permanent Representative at OSCE Andrey Kelin told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

“We have got in touch with the OSCE leadership over Ukrainian armed forces’ assault and demanded they should take demarches to stop this punitive operation,” he said, noting that demands were addressed to OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter. In the words of Kelin, in talks with him Zannier described current events in the eastern Ukrainian city of Sloviansk as “something horrible” that “should be stopped immediately.”

“Burkhalter tries to get in contact with (appointed by Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada) interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov and (parliament-appointed) Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the OSCE general secretary - with (parliament-appointed) acting Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchitsa,” the Russian permanent representative noted. “Ukrainians began to reply to them,” Kelin said, adding that the OSCE leadership was still busy with gathering full information about current events.

“The OSCE Observer Mission is also aware of current situation, but situation of military observers (detained by self-defense forces) has deteriorated and they were taken to a safe place,” the Russian diplomat said.


Punitive operation

Earlier, the representative said the Ukrainian authorities were conducting a full-scale sweep operation in Sloviansk, using aircraft and landing troops against civilians. The operation “started at 5 a.m., as they (Kiev leaders) pledged”.

“Armored vehicles are securing the assault by landing troops,” the policeman said. He said he is at a checkpoint in the city center.

Massive protests against the new Ukrainian authorities, who were propelled to power in Kiev amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February, erupted in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking southeastern regions in March after Crimea's incorporation by Russia. Demonstrators, who are demanding referendums on the country’s federalization, seized some government buildings.

The Kiev authorities have been conducting an antiterrorism operation in eastern Ukraine. Russia, which does not recognize the de facto Ukrainian leaders brought to power by the coup, has condemned the operation, apparently aimed to crack down on Ukrainian nationals supporting federalization.

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