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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.
bss217 April 13 2014 at 2:14 PM

You people, not all but some are blaming Obama for not sending in our troops. You have to joking, another war, that's what we need. Let them sort their own affairs out. And who made us the police of the world. We need to stay put of this you fools who want war, u go

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Home bss217 April 13 2014 at 2:24 PM

That's not the way I typed that, u changed things Huff & Puff

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bss217 Home April 13 2014 at 2:36 PM

How do u know what I typed? But thanks I guess

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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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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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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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CDC SORA April 13 2014 at 1:21 PM

Why must the US fight everywhere? Keep our troops here!

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cwb0804 CDC SORA April 13 2014 at 1:36 PM

Exactly what they said about Hitler and Togo. Let's appease them!

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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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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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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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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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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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wwelbes foubabou April 13 2014 at 6:30 PM

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

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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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xraybrain April 13 2014 at 6:07 PM

Putin is like a steam roller. He does what he pleases and knows nobody of any real strength will stop him. Meanwhile the USA has been in a downward death spiral for decades racking up more and more debt. We are running on EMPTY, just FUMES. While our government spent like a drunken sailor Russia has been buying up GOLD like there's no tommorow (and so has China). The only thing holding up the US Dollar is our treaty with the OPEC Nations. We protect their oil fields....they sell oil in U S Dollars "only". If that agreement ever become null all the U S Dollar will be good for is toilet paper

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wwelbes xraybrain April 13 2014 at 6:29 PM

Actually you are wrong, our debt is actually lower now as a percent of GNP than it was under Reagan. People continually throw out the debt number but forget to index it for inflation or as a percentage of our gross national product. People forget the economy has grown and with it grows our debt capacity. Which if you paid attention was Bushes rational for increasing the debt by cutting taxes. He assumed it would spur spending and improve the economy instead of destroying it. Actually our dollar is supported by the debt we sell which actually makes the US a profit. We are selling bonds at interest rates that are less than the inflation rate so we make money on our debt. Nations buy our debt at a discount because of our stability.

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rademps xraybrain April 13 2014 at 6:58 PM

Russia's economy is in a shambles. That's the danger. A poor nation is more likely to make rash decisions than a wealthy one.

There is more to the American dollar than OPEC. Could it be they "sell on American dollars only" because the dollars they collect is one of the strongest of currencies? They are not basing their oil economies on Hungarian forints or on Samoan Tala.

(graduate degree in economics)

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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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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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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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big dog April 13 2014 at 7:05 PM

about time they man up and fight for their own country.

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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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Lennie and Mark April 13 2014 at 5:41 PM

Obama wants that Russian Putin to stop all aggression now or he will get mad and won't talk to him anymore. Obama will also cut the US military forces down some more just to show Putin he is mad as hell.

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