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Moscow hopes Kiev won't use Rada protests to escalate conflict in Donbass

It might cause the most significant repercussions for the intra-Ukrainian settlement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said
Russian Foreign Ministry Mikhail Japaridze/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry
© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, October 18. /TASS/. Russia hopes that the Ukrainian leadership will not use protests outside the Verkhovna Rada parliament in Kiev for escalation in Donbass, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

Moscow "closely watches the protests underway in downtown Kiev, outside the building of Verkhovna Rada."

"The events show weariness that has accumulated in Ukrainian society due to the Ukrainian authorities’ numerous abortive promises to overcome hard social and economic crises, to uproot corruption and drastically improve lives of the country’s population," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"Again, as almost four years ago, squares of the Ukrainian capital hear appeals for the president’s resignation," it said. "One cannot help the feeling of deja vu."

"We expect the Kiev leadership not to try to use the current political turbulence for another spiral of escalation in Donbass," the ministry said. "It might cause the most significant repercussions for the intra-Ukrainian settlement."

On Tuesday, protesters gathered outside the Verkhovna Rada building demanding that lawmakers’ immunity be lifted, legislation amended and the Anti-Corruption Court be established. Diverse political forces staged the rally. Among them are Samopomich (Self-Reliance), Batkivshchyna (the Ukrainian Union ‘Fatherland’ led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko), Movement of New Forces (led by former Georgian President and former Ukraine’s Odessa Governor Mikhail Saakashvili), and 5.10 political parties. Some ultra-radical movements like Svoboda (Freedom), National Corps and Right Sector (banned in Russia) were among the organizers as well.

The protest turned violent as demonstrators clashed with police later in the day. As a result, one officer and three protesters were injured.

The protesters put up tents in the central park vowing they would stay until their demands met. The prosecutor general and police promised not to remove the tents in case the protesters did not take active steps.