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Ukraine acting interior minister claims operation in east not against country’s people

May 03, 2014, 10:56 UTC+3 KIEV
“By today, none of peaceful civilians in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk has been hurt,” he says
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© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

KIEV, May 03. /ITAR-TASS/. The appointed by Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada (parliament) acting interior minister of the country, Arsen Avakov, claims that peaceful civilians have not been hurt in an operation in the southeast of the country. His statement is posted in the website of the Ukrainian Interior Ministry.

“By today, none of peaceful civilians in Sloviansk and Kramatorsk has been hurt,” he pledged.

He also said that the operation was conducted not against the Ukrainian people, but against “the subversive group of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General Staff of the Russian Federation.” He believes that morning shots on Ukrainian helicopters were made not by the people’s police fighters, but by “Russian special task force.”

Meanwhile, a representative of people’s militia of Sloviansk told ITAR-TASS that Ukrainian special task force units early on Friday “launched a total mopping-up operation in the city,” during which armored vehicles and aircraft were used.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported in the meantime that the country’s security agencies had allegedly detained four people who are suspected of firing at helicopters from man-portable air defense systems.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed indignation over the beginning of a punitive military operation in Sloviansk and demanded “that those who declared themselves authority in Kiev” should stop it immediately.

“Russia is indignant at the beginning of a punitive military operation in Sloviansk with involvement of terrorists from the Right Sector and other ultranationalist organisations,” the ministry said in a statement. “Units of the Ukrainian army are using tanks, other heavy equipment, combat helicopters that deliver missile strikes on the protesters. There have been reports of deaths and injuries.

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