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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.

Join the discussion

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carp940 April 13 2014 at 2:46 PM

This is about COAL the western part of Ukraine has the most and finest coal in all of Europe! Large Russian Energy Companies are GREEDY PIGS just like their American Cousins, only differance Russians only have to pay off their little Dictator, American Companies have 4 or 5 hundred clowns in Washington to Pay Off!! LOL

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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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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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2 replies
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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big dog April 13 2014 at 7:05 PM

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

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Lauderdale Sand April 13 2014 at 7:06 PM

There are so many conflicting opinions about who is inciting, who is lying. Appears to be a self-contained civil war. Let them work it out. We do not have the resources or the heart to send troops there. We knew that from the first protest, and Obama should have remained silent because he looks even weaker giving his "warnings".

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2 replies
adestefano2 Lauderdale Sand April 13 2014 at 7:18 PM


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fairway7000 Lauderdale Sand April 13 2014 at 8:41 PM

Well, LS, sounds more sensible now what you are saying here. With all your obsession with Obama, as if everything revolves around him the way you and so manyn others seem to make it sound, it was seeming you were not able tom see the forest through the trees. Yet, unlike most others who seem to think Everything revolves around Obama, when really he has so little to do with much, it seems maybe you are seeing the big picture maybe afterall, so good I didn't comment yet on some og your other posts where it wasn't exactly clear what you were getting at other than it being clear that you're like many others who can;'t seem able to express a view on anything, includingb the weather, or what color shirt on is wearing, without having Obama as the centerb of attention withneverything discuuse3d at all in the history of the world.

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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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1 reply
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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fernandezarthr April 13 2014 at 7:10 PM

.........SDI Now!,.........SDI for ever!!,.........(Strategic Defense Initiative)......huuuuu....raaaaa!......

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bannorhill April 13 2014 at 7:26 PM

Obama is practicing Neville Chamberlin diplomacy.

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hewiedy98 April 13 2014 at 7:27 PM

Where was the indignation when the mob thru out the elected president.

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2 replies
fairway7000 hewiedy98 April 13 2014 at 8:02 PM

Yes indeed that is a very good point "hewiedy."

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vkurylo hewiedy98 April 13 2014 at 8:33 PM

heweidy please do not post if you're clueless. Victor Yanukovich had to go. Use your fingers to Google Mezhyhirya, Yanukovich's palace outside of Kiev. Yanukovich was propped up by Ukrainian and Russian oligarchs just like Putin is propped up by his own Russian thieves. Putin controlled Yanukovich. The KGB was rechristened the FSB. Putin's government is controlled and infested by "former" KGB. Read Pacepa

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2 replies
vince.matcheson vkurylo April 13 2014 at 10:06 PM

Finally someone tat got it right

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runningroger vkurylo April 14 2014 at 4:47 AM

Bush had to go too but he served 2 terms. Very corrupt immoral and incompetent bastard.

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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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