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Ukraine to launch anti-terror operation

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's president Oleksandr Turchynov says the country is to launch a "large-scale anti-terrorist operation" to resist Russia's aggression.

Turchynov said in a live televised address from the parliament that authorities in Kiev will not allow the "repetition of the Crimean scenario."

Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula last month after local residents voted overwhelming to secede from Ukraine and seek to join Russia in a hastily called referendum.

Ukrainian special forces exchanged gunfire with a pro-Russia militia in an eastern city Sunday, with at least one security officer killed and five others wounded. It was the first reported gunbattle in eastern Ukraine, where armed pro-Russia men have seized a number of government buildings in recent days.

Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said in a Facebook post that a Security Service officer was killed in Slovyansk, where the police station and the Security Service office were seized a day earlier by camouflaged armed men. He also reported a number of casualties among the militia, but did not offer a number.

An Associated Press reporter found a bullet-ridden SUV on the side of the road and a pool of blood on the passenger seat where the gunbattle was supposed to have taken place.

Vladimir Kolodchenko, a lawmaker from the area who witnessed the attack, said a car with four gunmen pulled up on the road in a wooden area outside Slovyansk and open fire on Ukrainian soldiers who were standing beside their vehicles. Both attackers and the Ukrainian servicemen left soon after the shooting.

Unrest has spread to several municipalities in eastern Ukraine, including the major industrial city of Donetsk, which has a large Russian-speaking population.

Donetsk was also the support base for Viktor Yanukovych, the Ukrainian president ousted in February following months of protests in Kiev, the capital, that were ignited by his decision to back away from closer relations with the European Union and turn toward Russia. Ethnic Russians in Ukraine's east widely fear that the new pro-Western Ukrainian government will suppress them.

The regional administration in Donetsk issued a statement, confirming one dead and saying nine were wounded. It did not identify them, but said one person was shot outside Slovyansk.

Avakov has described the unrest as "Russian aggression."

Ukraine's foreign ministry issued a statement late Sunday afternoon accusing "the Russian special service and saboteurs" of fomenting unrest and pledged to present "concrete evidence" of Russia's involvement at next week's Ukraine summit in Geneva.

In an earlier post, he said the separatists who had seized the buildings in Slovyansk had opened fire on Ukrainian special forces sent to the city on Sunday. He called on residents to remain calm and stay at home.

An Associated Press reporter saw no signs of any shots fired at the police station, which was surrounded by a reinforced line of barricades. Unlike on Saturday, the men patrolling the barricades were largely unarmed. One of the guards who asked not to be identified denied reports of fighting at the police station.

Armed camouflaged men were guarding a checkpoint at the main entrance into the city.

Ukrainian lawmaker Oleh Lyashko said Sunday afternoon that Ukrainian forces managed to take control of the city hall, the Security Service's branch and the police station in Slovyansk. This could not be immediately verified.

In a phone call with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry "expressed strong concern" that the attacks "were orchestrated and synchronized, similar to previous attacks in eastern Ukraine and Crimea," according the State Department. Kerry "made clear that if Russia didn't take steps to de-escalate in eastern Ukraine and move its troops back from Ukraine's border, there would be additional consequences," the department said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry denied Kerry's claims, while Lavrov blamed the crisis in Ukraine on the failure of the Ukrainian government "to take into account the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population," the ministry said. Lavrov also warned that Russia may pull out of next week's Ukraine summit if Kiev uses force against "residents of the southeast who were driven to despair."

Two rival rallies in another regional capital in eastern Ukraine, Kharkiv, turned violent. At the end of both rallies, a group of pro-Russian protesters followed several pro-Ukrainian activists, beating them with bats and sticks, Interfax Ukraine reported. A video on Espresso TV showed one activist with blood on his head and hands waiting for paramedics on the steps of the underground passage. Several men and women came up to him and started kicking him.

Interfax quoted Kharkiv authorities saying that 10 people were injured at the rallies.

In Slovyansk, the mayor said Saturday the men who seized the police station were demanding a referendum on autonomy and possible annexation by Russia. Protesters in other eastern cities have made similar demands after a referendum in Crimea last month in which voters opted to split off from Ukraine, leading to annexation by Russia.

Overnight, the interior minister reported an attack on a police station in the nearby city of Kramatorsk. A video from local news website Kramatorsk.info showed a group of camouflaged men armed with automatic weapons storming the building. The news website also reported that supporters of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic have occupied the administration building, built a barricade with tires around it and put a Russian flag nearby.

Regional news website OstroV said three key administrative buildings have been seized in another city in the area, Enakiyeve. In Mariupol, a city south of Donetesk on the Azov Sea and just 50 kilometers (30 miles) away from the Russian border, the city hall was seized by armed masked men. Local news website 0629.com.ua said 1,000 protesters were building a barricade around it while unknown armed men raised the Russian flag over the building.

On Saturday in Donetsk, the regional capital, witnesses said the men who entered the police building were wearing the uniforms of the Berkut, the feared riot police squad that was disbanded in February after Yanukovych's ouster. Berkut officers' violent dispersal of a demonstration in Kiev in November set off the mass protests that culminated in bloodshed in February when more than 100 people died in sniper fire. The acting government says the snipers were police.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Torak April 13 2014 at 12:25 PM

It just keeps getting more and more interesting.

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1 reply
fairway7000 Torak April 13 2014 at 9:01 PM

Ah yes, verrrrrrryy interrrrestingggg..............but Stupid....!

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patriot1too April 13 2014 at 6:00 PM

It is so sad that America has put into office such a weak person that has no idea what he is doing beyond playing the victim wannabe first black president who could care less about anything but his next photo op or some basketball game. Here we have an awful communist dictator destroying countries, lives and the world. Obama does nothing but have dinner with rap noise makers and plans his next vacation. America needs a moral leader not some gender neutral social experiment. This obama mess has lowered the bar on everything from the economy, jobs, world relations, marriage, race relations, family values and has so dumbed down our youth they are but a bunch of know nothing saggy pants sideways cap neck tattoed victim wannabe hoodie wearinhg nit wits. God bless America.

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1 reply
docboxcar patriot1too April 13 2014 at 6:20 PM

Oh patriot....... You sound as though you miss GW. Heck yeah, he started two useless wars, he sure knew what he was doing. Daggone it, if he was still in office we could be in WW3 by now. Cheney would be all in for it,funneling more money to Haliburton. Yeah, those were the good old days patriot. Isn't it funny that when Bush was in office, we were losing 200,000 jobs per month, and now we are gaining 250,000 jobs per month? Isn't it funny that when Bush was in office, at least 1 in 4 homes were in foreclosure? Today? Home prices are continually rising, and very very few foreclosures. You will never admit it, but you simply cannot accept the fact that our great President won, not one, but two times! Your guy lost. Get over it. The American voters spoke, and your side lost again. And that part about our President "Has dumbed down our youth"? Really patriot? Seems to me that you are the "Know nothing" nit wit.

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2 replies
Delores docboxcar April 13 2014 at 6:27 PM

WHAT NEWS ARE YOU WATCHING? Better learn to read.

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vince.matcheson docboxcar April 13 2014 at 10:33 PM

One of the best replies i have seen on here to date

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Ray April 13 2014 at 1:07 PM

We were amply warned that this President (Obama) would be tested by other world leaders.
This has happened! And yes, Obama is ending wars and keeping us out of wars. BUT, having said that...Obama has allowed a "tinderbox" to develope. We should make no mistake that Russia is now testing Obama and "words" will not work.The US is now seen around the world as WEAK.
bY SENDING SIGNALS THAT WE WILL NO LONGER FIGHT FOR WHAT IS RIGHT, we become sitting ducks in this standoff. I am scared now for my country.

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2 replies
linmarco Ray April 13 2014 at 1:41 PM

I'm curious? Are we seen as weak because we won't go to war with Russia or are we seen as weak because we are going through the world body to confront it about its behavior? Short of going to war with Russia I'd like to know what can be done that's not being done. People forget that Putin, Obama, Secretary Kerry, Russia's foreign minister, Western Europe heads of state, et cetera are all privy to information the rest of the world isn't. The press gives out info and we react. Sometimes it's right and sometimes not. Those that dislike Obama-not disagree because voters should disagree when they have a grievance- will still dislike him if he sends troops or opts to negotiate as he is presently doing. Either way it doesn't matter.
He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

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vigoddess Ray April 13 2014 at 2:38 PM

You are right to be scared Ray, but no matter how many people blame Obama
for everything, including their car not starting, he is a brillian strategist. The
proof being that he got Bin Laden, and has protected our country from
terrorists no matter how many people cried out about NSA. The Internet
knows everything about you, too, but blaming the President has become
the only agenda of a political party. The Boston Marathon slipped through
because we are allowing too many students into the USA, so blame the
universities that do not report those that are not showing up for classes
by simply taking attendance, but Obama can't do it alone. No man can
run a country alone. What is far better handling a dictator that wants
to be Napoleon? Russia is the biggest provider of wheat in the world,
and if the countries stop buying it - it's a far better weapon than taking
lives of young men and women. We have to stop being armchair
critics and stand together. The "tinderbox" you speak of wasn't started
by Obama. It was the political arrows and people attacking him that
showed weakness to the world.

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phoenix44al April 13 2014 at 1:08 PM

The Ukrainians have suffered since the days of the Ottoman's Empire, then the Czars and under Stalin's Russia tens of thousands or even millions were slaughtered. They have all but lost their identity. Right now the US and the Europeans are giving very marginal and minimal support, especially the European Nations. The Ukrainians need to have some national pride and every able man and women should be mobilized to defend their homeland against all odds, if not, Putin will take that nation over in piece meals. His strategy and excuse is straight our from Hitler's text book. Unless the West start to arm the Ukrainians to fight for themselves they will succumb like all the Eastern European Nations under Hitler. History repeats itself, more often than we think.

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erosforte April 13 2014 at 8:15 PM


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Lauderdale Sand April 13 2014 at 1:11 PM

Time for another Biden "gird your loin" speech. Putin has tested Obama's mettle, and Obama failed the test.

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1 reply
Dr. Analog Lauderdale Sand April 13 2014 at 1:20 PM

By "failed" do you mean chose the diplomatic option? Were you expecting Obama to bomb Moscow? If Obama went to war, would you volunteer to be at the front line?

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1 reply
Lauderdale Sand Dr. Analog April 13 2014 at 2:30 PM

Obama is the one who escalates to the point of war, with no intention of going to war. Diplomacy: Putin has more diplomacy than Obama could ever understand.

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quezon7 April 13 2014 at 6:03 PM

Please tell us about the scam that Russia is pulling, was that before the Sochi Games or during the Olympics when all of the world leaders were congratulating Putin?

If fascist types wearing masks in the hundreds of thousands were in Times Square, NYC rejecting the newly elected government of the USA, would you agree to a new election immediately January 1st, or would you suggest that they wait until 100 Million people vote, again, 4 years later?

Why does it matter whether Ukraine is totally democratic or partially democratic and led by oligarchs of Russia versus billionaire oligarchs from the Ukraine? Why should that make President Obama weak one way or the other? If the Namibians took over Botswana or Chad annexed Mali, why should we care? If Thailand and Laos have a border conflict that leads to a militarized tension, so what?
If Crimea and Ukraine have ethnic conflicts over borders drawn by men decades ago, why should families in the thousands of American school districts divert their property tax burden to some province in Ukraine run by a billionaire and 1000 masked men with guns and chains? Why is this on the radar of the average family guy struggling to help his kid pay a school loan?

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2 replies
Delores quezon7 April 13 2014 at 6:19 PM

We got ourselves in this position by not allowing drilling for the oil we know we have. Eucraine has to depend on Russia for their oil, and so does most of Europe.
When will Congress ever learn? Let Alaska open the pipe line. Let companies drill in Colorado, etc. where they know there is oil. JUST DO IT.

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1 reply
wwelbes Delores April 13 2014 at 6:40 PM

Your post is nonsense. US oil production is at all time highs and our largest export is now refined petroleum products. Alaskan oil is not even used in the United States it has always been sold for export because it isn't economical to bring to the lower 48 states. The new Canadian pipeline also does nothing for the US, the oil is to be exported for sale in the Asian market. All the pipeline does it transport the oil to a US tax free enterprize zone when the oil companies can process the oil and export it tax free. The only people making money on this deal are the Koch brother who own the refinery and the Canadian oil companies. They both get to dodge taxes at our expense. We get the air pollution and no revenue.

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wwelbes quezon7 April 13 2014 at 6:35 PM

I don't recall any leaders congratulating Putin, you seem to forget they all boycotted the Olympics. You also seem to forget that the US has a huge financial interest in the area and that Russian actions could put our economy back into a depression. You also seem to forget that US industry own or controls many large Russian companies such as Gazprom. Your ability to pay the your loans and your ability to get a loan are too a large extent based on what happens in parts of the world you seemingly choose to ignore.

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1 reply
Lauderdale Sand wwelbes April 13 2014 at 7:53 PM

Wrong. Even useless Obama congratulated Putin on the Olympics, if you recall. I don't recall that all world leaders attend Olympics in other nations, anyway.

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CornStove7 April 13 2014 at 1:38 PM

Unless the Ukraine army and military takes ahold and drives the planned Russian protesters out of the cities, it is only a matter of time that Russia will take over the whole country with another referendum vote. If Ukraine has no energy alternative other than Russian Gas lines, then they are forever held in hostage ... the end is inevitable. Russia know the US and NATO want no war so they are proceeding as planned and no one will be there to stop them. Sanctions are just a weak resistance.

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foubabou April 13 2014 at 6:07 PM

I wonder how the US would react if the Mexican elected govt was overthrown by Russian backed protesters after days of riots and killings and México was beginning to align with Russia and against the US.

You don't think the US would pile troops on the border, actively support Mexican rebels wanting to realign with the US and whatever else the CIA could think of? Yeah, right.

Just think of all the money spent and covert operations undertaken to try and destabilize the Cuban govt up to and including assassinating Castro. And that was just a small Island 90 miles across the water.

Might not be a bad idea about México. Bet the Russians could close the Mex/US border to keep their newly acquired people in.

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2 replies
wwelbes foubabou April 13 2014 at 6:30 PM

Gee then where are we going to make our American cars?

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1 reply
foubabou wwelbes April 13 2014 at 6:36 PM

See, one more reason why we couldn't let México go communist.

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runningroger foubabou April 14 2014 at 5:11 AM

good point

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patamcc April 14 2014 at 9:03 PM

Don't worry Obama has a plan, he'll offer Obama Care to Ukraine. Of course, the only option will be to accept the plan. Even Putin can sign up. Why not? It's FREE!!!!!

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